Over the last few days some of the media and others have been calling for the resignation or sacking of Defence Minister Stephen Smith over the defence force Skype sex tape scandal. Yet they have failed to call for the same from the Chief of Defence General David Hurley and the commander of the Australian Defence Force Academy Commodore Bruce Kafer.
Criminal offences have taken place in their attempt to cover up criminal offences in the defence force and there needs to be a Royal Commission as the cover-up is being directed by the highest levels of the defence force.
I have written about this a number of times but just a quick background to what has happened to date. In a previous post on the 11th of April 2011 titled “Pigs On The Run – The Australian Federal Police” I said the below:
Australian Defence Force sex tape scandal
The Australian public have seen the Federal Police’s cover-up tactics in full flight in the last few days with the Australian Defence Force sex tape scandal involving the 18-year-old girl. The Federal Police initially swept it under the carpet and only decided to investigate when Channel 10 ran an interview with the girl on the nightly news or at least that is what the Australian Defence are implying by their public statements. Both Defence and the Federal Police are have been contradicting each other all over the place with their public statements.
A quick overview is that an 18-year-old female cadet at the Australian Defence Force Academy was secretly filmed having sex with a male cadet using the telecommunication service Skype. The male cadet had set up the video unknown to the girl and six other cadets were in another room watching and two were under the age of 18. Still photographs were also taken on mobile phones and distributed around the base.
Another cadet was shown the photos and was disgusted and made a complaint to defence force officers.
The 18-year-old female was told by defence that Federal Police had told defence force investigators that it was not a crime in the ACT like other jurisdictions (other states). She was told that all that would happen is that the cadets involved would have leave stopped and a restriction of privileges.
The day that Channel Ten ran the story they contacted the Australian Defence Force Academy for a response and were told that the Federal Police had changed their initial advice because it happened on federal property and it is covered by Commonwealth Laws and that they would now investigate.
The problem with this is that the ADF (Australian Defence Force) has a very large and well resourced legal department and would have been well aware right from the start that a crime had been committed and that is was covered by Commonwealth Law. The General Counsel for Defence, David Lloyd would have been aware without a doubt but as you can see from a previous posting he has no hesitation in covering up corrupt and criminal conduct at the ADF. (The previous posting is titled “How the Defence Minister Stephen Smith and others cover up the sexual abuse of women”) (Click here to read previous posting)
The so-called initial advice that it was not covered by ACT laws and that they only decided to investigate when they realised it happened on federal property and is covered by Commonwealth Laws is one of the most stupid things I have ever heard. It does not matter whether it is on federal property or not to be covered by Commonwealth laws and the original Federal Police officer who gave the advice would have known this the same as David Lloyd General Council for Defence would have known. The whole of Australia is covered by Commonwealth Laws no matter where you are in the country.
I really have to wonder if the ADF ever contacted the Federal Police in the first place and only did when the media became involved.
This is what Commissioner Tony Negus has been quoted as saying in the last few days:
Australian Federal Police commissioner Tony Negus said the original information provided by defence to police related to a very bare set of circumstances.
‘That advice that was provided by defence didn’t really fully comprehend the magnitude of what we now know to be the case,’
Defence sought advice from the AFP and was initially advised it did not appear any offences had been committed.
Mr Negus said defence conducted some original inquiries and some preliminary legal advice was provided on the basis of that information.
‘But then again the circumstances came out more fully later on,’ he said.
Asked if he thought this was intentional, Mr Negus replied: ‘No, there was preliminary advice sought on a particular question, that advice was provided and the circumstances then grew from there.’
Sounds like total crap coming from Tony Negus’s mouth to me.
Just for the record what happened is a clear breach of section 474.17 of the 1995 Criminal Code:
474.17 Using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:
(a) the person uses a carriage service; and
(b) the person does so in a way (whether by the method of use or the content of a communication, or both) that reasonable persons would regard as being, in all the circumstances, menacing, harassing or offensive.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 3 years.
It took me all of 15 minutes to skim through the 1995 Criminal Code to find a section that covers the exact situation. Are we really to believe the ADF and Federal Police did not know? (Click here to read the full post) Two males were subsequently charged. At least one with the above law and which is due to go to trial next year.
Under pressure from Stephen Smith the defence force stood down Commodore Bruce Kafer and set up an inquiry headed by Andrew Kirkham, QC into the defence forces handling of the Skype sex tape. It must be noted that Mr Kirkham is an ex-defence employee and has continued to work for them on a regular basis since he left the force so he is hardly independent.
Mr Kirkham’s edited findings were presented to the media last Wednesday by Stephen Smith and General Hurley. The impression was clearly given that Commodore Bruce Kafer had been cleared by the Kirkham report of doing anything wrong and it was announced that he would be reinstated last Friday.
It was also stated that defence had legal advice that if they did not reinstate Commodore Kafer they ran the risk of Kafer instituting legal proceedings to be reinstated. Well, Kafer was never going to do this because his criminal conduct would come to light. What more than likely happened is that Kafer said to Hurley “if I go down I will be taking others down with me” so he was reinstated.
Mr Smith also said words to the effect that a number of things that the 18 female claimed happened had been found to be untrue by the Kirkham report. The net effect is that Kirkham has called the 18 female a liar and a fabricator. I know who I believe and it is not the defence old boy Kirkham and his cronies at the ADF. Kirkham is a disgrace bludging off the taxpayer and who does not want to upset his cash cow which is the ADF. He should never have been appointed with such a conflict of interest and was never even close to being independent.
Within 24 hours of the edited Kirkham report being released by Smith and Hurley Channel 10 was given at least some unedited parts of the report which showed amongst other things:
“a leaked document revealed a senior defence official was strongly criticised and found to have acted inappropriately.”
and ”Commodore Kafer could and should have foreseen that [disciplinary charges would be served on Kate] at a time when [she was receiving] medical treatment and had recently been advised of the Skype incident, and further that such service could cause her upset.”
“Mr Kirkham’s report also found that Kate suffered unnecessary distress because of Commodore Kafer’s actions and that he failed to inquire as to whether Kate wanted the disciplinary matter to be delayed.”
”The inquiry finds this failure unfortunate … such inquiries would have been a sensible and appropriate course of action.” (Click here to read the full story)
It seems the whole unedited report has not been leaked but only parts of it. But just based on the parts that have been leaked General Hurley and Smith were clearly and deliberately lying to the Australian public and attempting to cover up the real report at least in relation to the actions of Commodore Kafer.
It does not matter how you look at it Commodore Kafer has to resign or be sacked and the same can be said for General Hurley.
The full report has to be released and an open and public inquiry into Mr Hurley’s conduct needs to be forthcoming. And who were the people who originally lied to the female cadet and said what happened was not illegal in the ACT.
A separate inquiry was also commissioned last year by Stephen Smith. I said in the post titled “Going Jack – Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston”:
“At the time of writing this over 1000 people have made complaints of abuse in the Defence Force to the law firm DLA Piper who is investigating and doing up a report for the Defence Minister Stephen Smith.” (Click here to read the full post)
Also, last Wednesday Stephen Smith released the DLA Piper report which in The Australian said:
“THE Australian Defence Force faces years of investigations into hundreds of allegations of violence and psychological abuse in its ranks, with some claims involving serious criminal offences.”
and ” A national law firm’s initial review of more than 1000 complaints of abuse in the ADF has found that at least 775 were “plausible allegations of abuse”. Its recommendations for action include a possible royal commission, a national apology to victims and the likelihood of millions of dollars in compensation being paid.” (Click here to read the full article)
If defence is able to sweep the Skype sex tape scandal under the carpet what hope have the 775 people who have “plausible allegations of abuse” of ever getting justice.
General David Hurley has been caught out for being a disgrace to his uniform and like his predecessor going jack on his soldiers. If he had any self-respect he would resign summarily. What he has done is what only the low of the low would do. The same can be said for Commander Bruce Kafer.
And as for Stephen Smith there was a great article in the SMH on the weekend by recently retired major-general John Cantwell who said:
“It’s all about respect. Does the Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, respect the men and women of the Australian Defence Force? Regrettably, the answer appears to be ”no”.”
and this “I provided a frank assessment of the quality of Afghanistan security forces we were training. Throughout, Smith sat immobile, taking no notes, making no comment. At the conclusion of this briefing, to which the then chief of the Defence Force Angus Houston added his insights, I asked if he had any questions. There were none. It must have been a cracking brief.” (Click here to read the full article)
I doubt that abuse in the defence force is any higher than in the greater community as a whole and even though cover-ups go on in general society I have no doubt the level of cover-ups is significantly higher in the defence force as the above shows.
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