Saturday 31st of July 2021

ADF twerks into a shitstorm...

















Assistant Defence Minister Andrew Hastie has told military personnel their "core business" will always be the "application of lethal violence" and warned "mission clarity" is vital to their work.

Key points:
  • Senior government figures said Mr Hastie's message closely aligned with the directives new Defence Minister Peter Dutton issued to the ADF's top brass
  • Liberal backbencher Phillip Thompson backed the message, warning "we've gone a little bit woke over the past few years, and we can't afford to be doing that"
  • One recent incident that caused controversy among government ministers was the decision to have dancers at a commissioning of a Navy ship

The blunt directive from the former Special Forces officer came as Morrison government figures also took aim at the Australian Defence Force (ADF) after scantily clad dancers helped to formally commission the Navy's newest ship, a move one senior figure dubbed a "shitshow".

Mr Hastie, who was last year promoted to his frontbench role, outlined his vision for the defence force in a message to his West Australian constituents.

"Our military serves a vital role across Australian society, whether during pandemic, flood or fire," Mr Hastie wrote in his most recent electorate newsletter.

"But the ADF's core business will always be the application of lethal violence in the defence of our values, sovereignty and interests. We should never forget that."

The Liberal MP, who entered Federal Parliament in 2015, previously served in the elite Special Air Service Regiment for five years, including deploying to the war in Afghanistan.

In his emailed newsletter, Mr Hastie argued that "mission clarity is vital in the profession of arms".

"Without it, confusion grows — confusion about role, identity and purpose. And confusion is deadly on the battlefield, at sea or in an aerial dogfight," he said.

"Mission focus is the foundation of victory. It keeps everyone driving towards a singular purpose."

'We've gone a little bit woke'

Senior Morrison government figures said the Assistant Minister's message closely aligned with the directives new Defence Minister Peter Dutton issued to the ADF's top brass during their initial meetings.

Inside government, there are frustrations over recent military decisions seen as too "politically correct", such as a 2018 directive banning soldiers from wearing "death" symbols.

Concerns are also growing over the Defence Department's ability to deliver on ambitious demands such as those set out in the multi-billion-dollar Naval Shipbuilding Program.

Liberal backbencher Phillip Thompson, who is also a former soldier, said ministers Dutton and Hastie were making sure the ADF was focused on its main tasks.

"Having Minister Dutton at the helm and leading our Australian Defence Force, we're bringing back our core values — we've gone a little bit woke over the past few years and we can't afford to be doing that."

The Queensland backbencher argued the ADF had lurched "too far to the left" with its social agenda in recent years.

"Our ADF shouldn't be left or right, they should be straight down the middle of what their job is, and their job is to defend our nation, our interests, our values, our sovereignty, but also when we go on operations, have an unapologetic aggression and violence to get the mission done."

'What would Horatio Nelson think of this shitshow?'

One recent incident that caused annoyance inside federal government ranks was Navy's decision last weekend to invite a local group of scantily clad dancers to perform a routine that included twerking.


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shoot first...

From the New Yorker Album of Drawings 1925-1975...


war drunks...war drunks...

diesel in the petrol tank...


By William De Maria


When Brendan (“Biggles”) Nelson, AWM Director at the time, heard about the early allegations againt Robert-Smith and other soldiers, he fumed: “Where is the national interest in tearing down our heroes?” It’s my very strong view that the alleged controversies involving special forces, unless involving the most egregious breaches of the laws of armed combat, should be left alone. What these young, highly skilled and trained men have done repeatedly over the past 15 years in intense combat is something that is rightly the pride of our nation.”


The 1st Commando Regiment soldier with workshop duties looked up from the engine he was repairing to see who was blocking the doorway sun at special forces base at Tarin Kot in Uruzgan Province. A hulk of a man, at 190.5cm, was pushing a quad bike into the shed. “This is fucked. Fix it”. With that, Ben Roberts-Smith walked back out into the dry heat and sand. Turns out Roberts-Smith had put diesel fuel into the tank.

From what we now know, that fuel mistake was the least of his misdemeanours. The media has been exploding with Roberts-Smith stories for a long time. Who could blame them? His story is a lush garden ripe for constant picking. He soared to the pinnacle by being awarded the highest decoration for valour when he picked up a Victoria Cross in 2010. Five years later, on another deployment to Afghanistan, he was awarded the Medal for Gallantry. And then, according to media reports and official inquiries by Justice Brereton and the Australian Federal Police he is alleged to have been involved in the most scandalous and criminal behaviour.

However bad Roberts-Smith’s behaviour will or will not turn out to be, we must resist making him the only story in town. His story is representational of deeper wrongdoings, long ignored systemic failures and the ethical power of the whistleblower message. Where are the citations for valour for those special forces soldiers who spoke out against overwhelming intimidation?

Another deeper malignancy lurking in the Roberts-Smith story is the scandalous intervention of Kerry Stokes, a media millionaire, and Chair of the Australian War Memorial Council. A recent 60 Minutes story featured a secret recording of Roberts-Smith saying,

“Now I’m going to do everything I can to fucking destroy them, mate…all those journalists. And that’s my sole fucking mission in life. Mate, I will take it all the way…and I have got the bank to do it.”

Not on a corporal’s salary you won’t Ben. Thank god for “the bank”, rich Uncle Kerry Stokes. He is funding Roberts-Smith’s defamation case against the Nine media conglomerate and he also paid for Roberts-Smith’s legal representation before the Brereton Inquiry. So far Stokes has shelled out just under $2million for Roberts-Smith’s defence. Turns out he was not spending his own money on young Ben. Stokes apparently did not bother to seek clearance from the minority shareholders Seven West Media to use company money to fund Roberts-Smith’s legal campaign.

There is more to this scandal. Recently Stokes offered his resignation as Chair of the Australian War Memorial Council. The secret minutes of that meeting on 27 November 2021 reveal that Stokes expressed “concerns about the impact of recent media interest regarding his support of [Roberts-Smith] on his role of Chairman, and the potential impact on the Memorial’s reputation”. The Council unanimously stood behind Stokes. Morrison stands behind him and that great ministerial performer Darren Chester stands behind him. Conflict of interest it seems is what other people do.

The Roberts-Smith story also reveals a cancer in the Armed Forces whereby officers are afforded layers of protection not given to the ordinary soldier. One story can be told that  illustrates how elements in special forces went from humans with Geneva Convention obligations to blood-lusted hunters. After an Afghan was killed by troopers in a 2-Squadron hit on the village of Tizak, disgusting photos were taken of the corpse’s blood-smeared face. Troopers had placed two medals over his eyes. One medal was a Special Forces 2012 Tour Medal. The other was a 2-Squadron medal. Roberts-Smith was a patrol commander that day.

Two days after the soldiers had desecrated the remains of the Afghan farmer, they held a dress up party at 2-Squadron’s SAS exclusive bar, the Fat Lady’s Arms, at Camp Russell, Tarin Kot. A heavy porn movie looped on a wall screen. Soldiers came as pirates, the Hulk, even Sponge Bob Square Pants. One choice of costume was revealing. One soldier came dressed as the Red Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, with a noose over his shoulder and a holding aloft a burning cross.

One photo from this piss up shows the Special Forces Commander on his knees pretending to fellate another soldier. Yesterday the Australian reported a similar carry on in the Fat Lady’s Arms in 2009. This time it was an officer with a plastic phallus protruding from his pants as he cheered on a soldier on his knees in front of him pretending to engage in a sex act.

That officer is now a colonel in charge of the Defence Special Operations Training Centre that opened at the Holsworthy Military Base outside Sydney on 19 November 2019. When the Centre was opened the Chief of Army said,

Good Soldiering orients us on …good character and ethical behaviour. Through Good soldiering we seek to generate …traits which are fundamental to who we are as Australians.

I expect all staff here and all instructors here to uphold these expectations, and for you to demand it of others…You must all be role models for what is right.

This story shimmers with hypocrisy. It shows that Roberts-Smith and his fellow troopers were not the only ones who allegedly went rogue. The command officers were up to their necks in it to. Difference is their actions lead to promotions not prosecutions. We don’t see their identities on front pages. Brereton has protected them in his report and the Army are working overtime to keep them out of the news. What a scandal!

Roberts-Smith is now reported as frustrating justice by burying incriminating material on USBs in the backyard of his house on the Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane. If these disclosures are correct, then he acted in direct defiance of an order by Justice Brereton that soldiers hand over all relevant material. The Australian Federal Police have started a fresh line of inquiry.

The latest revelations are due to a combination of relentless journalism and the disclosures of a small group of ex-SAS. One soldier in particular has taken years to turn. Years in which he went from distancing himself from the war crimes he saw to experiencing PTSD for which the only cure was truth telling.

In 2018, Minter Ellison, representing the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, in Roberts-Smith defamation case, asked a Sydney based risk assessor to examine the risk to “Person 17” if they gave open evidence in the case. The risk assessment, lodged with the Sydney Registry of the Federal Court concluded:

1). In the case of the risk of ‘assault causing injury’, the level of anonymity presently afforded to Person 17 is considered key to retaining a lower likelihood of the risk occurring, resulting in a MEDIUM level of current risk – if her identity were to become widely known the level of risk would increase to HIGH; and

2). In the case of homicide, the risk rating is assessed to be MEDIUM should her identity continue to be protected – this increases to HIGH if anonymity were to be removed.

3). In view of the link to the military, issues such as the prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and its potential to cause ex-serving members to act irrationally, are likely to elevate the threat environment rather than reduce it.

4). The ‘asset’ requiring protection in this situation is Person 17. Based on qualitative measures defined within Table 1 below, the level of assessed criticality is EXTREME. I base this on the fact that, should Person 17 be targeted by a Threat Actor, then it is possible that the impact of this could be her death.

Thus this extraordinary story of VCs, buried evidence, Anzac mythology, millionaire interventions, threatening of witnesses and inappropriate official protection, progresses forward.

Roberts-Smith remains a hero to many. When Brendan (“Biggles”) Nelson, AWM Director at the time, heard about the early allegations againt Robert-Smith and other soldiers, he fumed:

Where is the national interest in tearing down our heroes?” It’s my very strong view that the alleged controversies involving special forces, unless involving the most egregious breaches of the laws of armed combat, should be left alone. What these young, highly skilled and trained men have done repeatedly over the past 15 years in intense combat is something that is rightly the pride of our nation.”

Nelson had not at that stage read the Brereton Report, which found abundant evidence “of the most egregious breaches of the laws of armed combat”. Since the release of the report on 19 November last year, he has kept his trap shut.


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apologies from gus...

The dance troupe on Thursday took aim at the ABC for its “creepy” filming and editing, saying they were made to feel exploited and unsafe.


They accused the film crew of sexualising the performers for “their own gratification”.

They said their performance was filmed from angles the audience couldn’t see, and the editing made it deliberately look like they were performing to guests who, in actuality, hadn’t yet arrived.

“The 101 Doll Squadron members have been under personal attack on all media platforms since the weekend and we now feel unsafe. The media which purports to support women have been the most virulent,” the group said in a statement to media.

“We are very disappointed at the ABC’s deceptive editing of their video piece…These are the images appearing in the media and the ABC have a lot to answer for in making us feel threatened and exploited.”

The national broadcaster quickly followed the statement on Thursday, issuing a clarification – but stopping short of formally apologising.


ABC News published a video attached to a story concerning a dance performance at a commissioning ceremony for the HMAS Supply in Sydney. The video included vision of the Governor-General and Chief of Navy. The ABC has since confirmed both men arrived minutes after the dance performance finished. The video has been updated to reflect this.


Governor-General David Hurley said the ABC’s behaviour was “disappointing”, as his office confirmed he and Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan arrived after the performance.

“The presentation of the video to suggest otherwise was disappointing,” a statement from the Governor-General said.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the ABC should be reflecting on its actions.


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Mind you, the PM should sack himself for his many stupid actions that have had no apologies from him (except to god — news limited) for far worse than a bit of arse movements near a new ship. Gus apologises for having made a montage-cartoon that could be construed as funny...


Actually this twerking reminds me of a story about a French corvette, under sail, that had run out of ammunition to fight the Brits. The French crew went pass the HMS of her Majesty with their pants down and showing their bare arse... The Poms were so astonished they forgot to fire a single shot and the French boat escaped... This is a true story, in a book of fiction about wars on the seven seas...



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scomo goes twerking troppo...

Scott Morrison joined mine workers in stretching exercises to the strains of Jimmy Barnes’ Working Class Man on Friday as he continued his charm offensive in Western Australia.

The Prime Minister – who spent Thursday night at Fortescue Metal Group’s Christmas Creek camp, and shared a beer with the workers – had started Friday with a business breakfast in Karratha, in the state’s Pilbara region.

Then he headed back out to the camp for the morning shift changeover, where Fortescue owner Twiggy Forrest invited him to join the morning heart-starter.


“It’s a bit different to a barre class,” the PM quipped – in a reference to his mangled pronunciation of the exercise classes at an early pandemic media briefing in 2020.

Interestingly, he struck his dance moves just a day after describing the footage of a twerking dance troupe at a formal Navy ceremony as “disappointing”.

Mr Morrison was later due to visit an ammonia plant before heading to Kalbarri to inspect the widespread damage inflicted by Tropical Cyclone Seroja. 



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It's sad that scomo has gone troppo... Well, it's not. It was expected from the "evangelical".


Yes, this scumdog scomo is more at ease with the beefy blokes, with his awkward toolkit of male-rules, while spreading erroneous economic platitude on stale toasts, rather than deal with the problems of this nation's future properly... SCOMO SHOULD GO. He is inept. He appears like a nasty and vicious man, with the intelligence of a failed cunning rat — while he was not holding the hose, mate. This was clear when he refused to apologise to Holgate... 



Dancing with the miners, and with multi-billion-dollars Twiggy, shows how stupid, crass, and is a low class mass market advertiser that polishes the butts of his masters. He is typical of the BAD marketing account-managers that Gundlach was referring to, in his manuals! No two ways about it, the man has gone to WA to fish for votes in the wastelands. Not only the man seems dumb beyond belief, he is engrossing himself with baseball caps and yellow viz-vests once again, to con people about his brilliant brain...



Wake up Australia. At least when Abbott was lying and was total crap, he was not trying to pretend to be otherwise. 




sub-twerking exposer...


By Jon Stanford



Gary Johnston sadly died after a short illness on 10 March 2021. Gary was the founder of the Submarines for Australia website and the generous sponsor of the associated research, submissions and reports published on the site.

His enthusiasm and drive brought together an expert reference group that has supported this important work and developed a substantial intellectual challenge not only to the proposed procurement of the French-designed Attack class conventionally-powered submarine but also other inordinately expensive and highly risky Defence acquisitions recently proposed by governments.

While concern about major naval acquisitions may seem to be a curious interest for a very successful businessman, there are a few good reasons why Gary took such an interest in this domain.

Having become wealthy through sheer hard work over 40 years, building up his chain of nearly 150 Jaycar electronics shops with around 1,000 employees, Gary paid a considerable amount of tax. Naturally enough, he resented it when that money was wasted. Also, as a successful investor who was fascinated by electronics from an early age, Gary had a deep understanding of technology and the major risks involved in bringing technical innovations to market. In other words, he could spot a shonky deal when he saw one.

He strongly believed, particularly in recent years, that the Department of Defence had presided over more than its fair share of shonky deals. It seemed outrageous that nobody ever seemed to be held accountable for a gross waste of taxpayers’ money and the ongoing need to send young service personnel into harm’s way on obsolescent platforms because of endless delays in delivering their replacements.

One particular acquisition that sparked Gary’s interest in the first place was Defence’s cunning plan to refit retired American Seasprite helicopter platforms, mothballed in the Mojave desert, with modern electronic systems. That project was eventually cancelled at a cost of $1,400 million in return for not one single helicopter being deployed in active service.

When the selection of the French submarine was announced, Gary was convinced it came from the same Defence playbook, but with exponentially higher costs and substantial risks of failure. As Gary put it, the Defence department had decided to take a perfectly good nuclear-powered submarine, remove the reactor that provided the basis for the submarine’s superior capability and replace it with lead acid batteries and diesel engines as deployed in the RAN’s first submarine AE1 over a century ago. The crowning insult was that for this unicorn, whose design alone would need a decade or more to bed down, the French intended to charge us twice as much as the original, vastly superior, nuclear submarine would have cost.

Gary had a keen interest in military history and was a strong supporter of the Australian Defence Force. He understood that, following the retirement of the F-111 long-range strategic bomber in 2010, the RAN’s submarine force became the lone spear carrier for the ADF’s capacity to project significant military force beyond Australia’s EEZ to the north and west. He also came to understand, as many in Australia do not, that close cooperation between the RAN and U.S. Navy submarines in high-intensity operations far from our bases makes a very important contribution to the alliance and one that generates significant credit for Australia in the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence group. Particularly in a strategic environment that was becoming much more threatening, Australia’s future submarines would be a critical element in providing for our national security and they needed to incorporate the very best technology that Australia could afford.

In this context, Gary observed that the US, British and French navies only deploy nuclear-powered boats (SSNs), which have significant advantages over Australian conventional submarines both in terms of their operational effectiveness and survivability. He held the view, widely shared by experts we consulted both in Australia and overseas, that if Australia’s next generation of submarines was to continue to be deployed ‘up threat’ in an environment where detection technologies and the capability of the main adversary were advancing almost by the month, there were strong operational reasons why the RAN needed to embrace nuclear power for its submarine force.

The two great advantages enjoyed by a nuclear-powered submarine over a conventional boat are virtually limitless dived endurance and a much higher sustainable speed. One benefit of high speed, for example, is that it provides a force multiplier. It would allow the halving of an Australian submarine’s current near three-week transit time to its main area of operations, thereby enabling more submarines to be on station at any time – that is, providing a greater concentration of force.

A second benefit of an SSN’s propulsive power is the one cited to us most frequently by former submariners, namely the ability to escape submerged at high speed if detected and thereby live to fight another day. Unlike an SSN, a conventional submarine needs to approach the surface periodically to ‘snort’, run its diesel generators and recharge its batteries. This is when it is most vulnerable to detection – the probability of which is increasing constantly as more submarines are deployed to the Indo Pacific and greater numbers of sophisticated anti-submarine platforms enter service. Without being able to call on the sustained high speed available to a nuclear-powered boat, survivability then becomes a major concern.

In discussing submarines, Gary often spoke of his concern about sending young Australians in the ADF into harm’s way with inadequate equipment. In his Foreword to the Submarines for Australia report, launched at the National Press Club a year before he died, he wrote:

“In my view, one of the most shameful episodes in our military history occurred in 1941-42, when we sent brave young Australians, with predictable results, to fight the advanced Japanese Zero fighters in obsolete aircraft. Never again should the nation abrogate its duty of care towards its servicemen and women in this manner. We are a wealthy country and have a moral obligation to provide ADF personnel with the best possible military platforms when they are sent into harm’s way. I conclude, therefore, that if the government wants to continue undertaking submarine operations at the highest level of intensity, it should acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered attack submarines, complemented by autonomous underwater vehicles.”

In recent times, Gary had begun to analyse other Defence acquisitions. He was becoming increasingly disturbed about the Hunter class frigates program, which already looks as if it might challenge the submarines in terms of its absurdly high cost and excessive risk. He liked to ask whose cunning plan it was to choose a developmental British platform, replace all the hardware with American missile systems never before integrated on a UK warship, overload the platform so it is the same size as a DDG-51 Arleigh Burke destroyer, but with only one-third of the missile capacity and half the helicopter hangar space? And then, as the crowning absurdity, dare to charge more than twice as much for it as the DDG-51?

In Australia, few wealthy individuals contribute in any significant way to research into specialist issues in the public policy arena. In launching the second Submarines for Australia report at the National Press Club in March 2020, Professor Hugh White drew attention to Gary’s philanthropy:

“Good public policy depends on good ideas, and they take time and effort and money to develop. Gary Johnston’s willingness to support serious and sustained work on this crucial issue is one of the few examples in Australia of genuine, disinterested public policy philanthropy we have, and one of the finest.”

In his address at Gary’s funeral, David Gonski drew attention to his wide range of interests and generosity across a broad range of philanthropic causes. Who knew, for example, that Gary has a species of Koala – Litokoala Garyjohnstoni – named after him? Who knew that he had a Masters of Letters degree with a major in American literature?

Gary was a highly intelligent and well-read Australian larrikin, an expansive, larger than life character who made an indelible mark on the world and then, very sadly, was taken from us suddenly and before his time. Less than three weeks after a diagnosis of Mesothelioma (asbestos lung cancer), he was gone.

Vale, Gary Johnston. At your express wish, the work of the Submarines for Australia think tank will continue. But you will be sorely missed.


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