The military sociologist whose interviews with Australian special forces soldiers helped spark the long-running investigation into suspected war crimes has vowed that she will not be “intimidated.”
Dr. Samantha Crompvoets, who has faced criticism from Defense Minister Peter Dutton for a planned new book, also said Friday that she believed the response to Brereton’s investigation had “turned political” and the trend was “futile. “.
“I do not apologize for raising issues that I believe significantly jeopardize the reputation and capabilities of our defense force,” he told a conference organized by the Australian Institute for Strategic Policy.
Without naming anyone, he added: “For those who wish to silence me or my work, I will not be intimidated or intimidated. A cultural change needs to happen. “
Crompvoets is currently seeking approval through government processes for his next book, entitled Blood Lust, Trust & Blame, to be published next month.
While Crompvoets has argued that it is not a one-size-fits-all book based on material in the public domain, Dutton has said he has “real concerns about the whole situation.”
The defense minister told 2GB radio last week that he had “sought legal advice” and did not believe that Crompvoets’ company would win any more defense contracts.
Crompvoets said Friday that he had “recently written a book that may or may not be published next month” and that it had “received quite a bit of attention.”
He said that he had had the privilege of working closely with Defense on cultural issues for more than a decade, adding: “What was intended to be a fairly straightforward project in 2015 turned into something much bigger when the people began to reveal to me alleged crimes committed. by Australian troops in Afghanistan. “
He said that cultural reform was “easily ridiculed” if it was “framed as a social justice agenda,” but argued that not learning the lessons of the past would present significant risks to the ADF’s war capacity.
“Cultural reform in Defense has never been about political correctness or an awakened agenda, whatever that is,” he said. “It has been tried to ensure that Defense people – their soldiers, sailors, airmen, public servants – are prepared to succeed and prosper and be an effective fighting force.”
Brereton’s investigation found “credible” evidence to implicate 25 current or former ADF personnel in the alleged unlawful killing of 39 people and the cruel treatment of two others. The newly established office of the special investigator will consider the evidence before possible prosecutions.
Crompvoets said he understood why people wanted to “move on from the stories of alleged war crimes, fix morale, better understand and respond to the health of veterans.”
“And as someone with a partner who is currently in the hospital, and undergoing treatment for combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder, I understand that,” he said. “The war crimes allegations are really uncomfortable.”
Crompvoets said that not properly understanding and speaking about the war crimes allegations would be “a grave injustice to the brave men and women who came forward and told their stories, with all they had to lose professionally and personally.”
“Not understanding why they may have happened and making sure the same environmental and other factors do not conspire again to allow this to happen is a risk,” he said.
“It is a risk to our national security, to our international reputation and to our collective national psyche.”
Addressing the same Aspi conference the day before, Dutton said he meant what he said about the government “having the back” of Australian defense forces personnel.
Dutton said hundreds of veterans had taken their own lives after returning from conflict zones in the Middle East. “There has been a morale issue that we need to address,” Dutton said. “I don’t want us to forget Brereton’s lessons, but we’re not going to get caught up in it either.”