Previously secret defence documents obtained by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre reveal that Australian defence chiefs agreed there should be external supervision of Australia’s military interrogation training following the 2004 Abu Ghraib prisoner scandal, but the recommendation was never adopted, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
‘The revelation raises questions about why such high-level advice was disregarded, especially given that Australia sent a specialist team of army interrogators to Afghanistan last month – the first such deployment since the East Timor conflict,’ writes Herald journalist Deborah Snow.
‘The 2004 papers, dating from the height of the coalition occupation of Iraq, were obtained by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre under freedom of information.
‘They reveal how top army brass were keen to fireproof themselves against further scandals like Abu Ghraib, in which Iraqi prisoners of war were humiliated and abused by US military guards. Australia, as a junior coalition partner, was caught up in the backlash.’
Related analysis: Drawing the line on torture, SMH 24 March 2012
Source material: previously classified Defence documents published by PIAC