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Iraq: An ex-serviceman’s view

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We have received the following communication by email from Stephen Kelcoyne-Lawrence, a former officer of the Royal Australian Navy who lives in Tasmania, and publish it with his permission:

As an ex-Naval Officer who was serving at the time, I would fully subscribe to & support an Inquiry into the Iraq War; the circumstances leading up to it; Howard’s decision to send us to war in defiance of 80% of the population at the time (under what we all knew then were blatantly false pretences). I believe that terms of reference for such an Inquiry should also encompass: Philip Ruddock’s involvement in the matter & in so far as his [retrospective] determination that it was a ‘legal’ war; the ‘AWB Affair’ & certain politicians’ roles in ‘aiding & abetting the enemy in a time of war’ (noting that this particularly despicable crime is still punishable by death under the Defence Force Discipline Act (the DFDA); the Media’s role beforehand, throughout & since 2001 (Packer, Murdoch and yes, sadly, the ABC too); the blatant Censorship of the Internet that ensued then (& since); Australia’s role in any ‘Rendition’ activities (including the ‘David Hicks’ Affair); as well as the granting (& subsequent abuse) of outrageous powers to organisations such as the Australian Federal Police, ASIO & the DSO that have continued to be abused through to the present time: (locking Refugees & children up in what can only be described as ‘concentration camps’ for indefinite periods of time; the power to deport Australian citizens from their own country (e.g. the Cornelia Rao scandal) and, of course, my personal favourite: the power to detain Australians without charge in our own country, and to do so supposedly in the ‘national interest’, as examples).

These are NOT the values that I subscribe to as a human being or an Australian; nor are they the values for which I put my life (and others’ lives) in harm’s way, nor are they the values that that I Swore an Oath to defend & uphold at the time – I am ashamed & embarrassed by what our politicians have supposedly done in my name.

I feel so strongly about this abhorrent, outrageous un-democratic farce, that I would be prepared to give evidence if it would serve the endeavours of such an Inquiry; serve the interests of my country; and/or serve to bring about the truth, just for once.

There must be many ex-ADF people who feel the same way, and we would be delighted to hear from you. You can contact us by email at info@iraqwarinquiry.org.au.

Originally published by AWPR, 7 February, 2013 | 3:57 pm

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