Australia’s Defence Dept denies links to secret prisons

Senior members of the former Howard government and Australia’s Defence Department are denying claims that Australian soldiers were involved in transporting Iraqis to secret prisons during the war.

A US military document that has been obtained by the Guardian newspaper identifies an Australian SAS squadron of 150 men and says it was “integral” to the operation of a secret facility, known as H1, in Iraq’s western desert in 2003. 

Australia’s Defence Minister Stephen Smith (pictured) denies the claim. 

And Australia’s Former Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, dismisses the allegation that the Australian military personnel were directly involved in any secret “black sites”. 

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre say there are questions about whether Australian SAS forces breached international laws while handling Iraqi prisoners of war. They point to a US military document that says Australia played a key role in so-called black sites – secret prison facilities hidden from the Red Cross. 

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