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Bombshell report: What you didn’t get to see

More than 100 pages of a bombshell report into alleged war crimes committed by Australian Special Forces Soldiers in Afghanistan will remain secret. The long-awaited Brereton report, which outlines the most disgraceful episode in Australia’s military history, was released on Thursday after a lengthy investigation.But at least a fifth of it, including the details of…

More than 100 pages of a bombshell report into alleged war crimes committed by Australian Special Forces Soldiers in Afghanistan will remain secret.

The long-awaited Brereton report, which outlines the most disgraceful episode in Australia’s military history, was released on Thursday after a lengthy investigation.

But at least a fifth of it, including the details of 23 incidents in which Afghani civilians and prisoners were unlawfully killed, was blacked out.

Australian Defence Force chief General Angus Campbell said names of the accused were left out of the report and it was heavily redacted because the claims would now be investigated criminally.

The report recommends at least 19 Afghanistan veterans be prosecuted for alleged murders.

Decorated soldier Ben Roberts-Smith, who previously revealed he was a subject of the report and denied any wrongdoing, was among all SAS soldiers given anonymity.

Mr Roberts-Smith has been accused in media reports of leading a handcuffed detainee to the edge of a cliff before kicking him off.

Another soldier is then alleged to have shot and killed the man.

Mr Roberts-Smith has denied the allegation and is suing former Fairfax titles The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times over stories accusing him of breaking the rules of combat while deployed in Afghanistan.

The Brereton report only details one male Afghan detainee that was handcuffed being shot.

It recommends the matter be referred for criminal investigation.

The Brereton report received evidence of five assaults by SAS soldiers – three were unsubstantiated and two were deemed credible.

There was no evidence that the incidents were committed by Mr Roberts-Smith and he has denied these allegations, also.

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General Campbell was asked about Mr Roberts-Smith’s command and an incident contained in the report described as “possibly the most disgraceful episode in Australia’s military history”.

General Campbell said he would not speak about individuals but denied the report let higher-ups “off the hook”.

“No incidents, no names, nothing that in any way might undermine or discredit any process or ultimately any court proceeding,” he said.

“Justice Brereton does describe something that is utterly disgraceful.

“It is right that it needs legally to be redacted.

“In time, in the time of history to be written, it is shameful.”

Mr Roberts-Smith confirmed last week was being investigated as part of the Brereton report.

“It is heartening to hear that these matters, which have been the subject of rumours for years, will now be examined by a Special Investigator’s Office with expertise and experience to consider evidence not rumours and make decisions based on evidence rather than on unsubstantiated rumours,” he said in a statement last week.

“It is regrettable that the IGADF Inquiry took such an extraordinarily long time to be finalised. While I appreciate the complexity of the task ahead for the Special Investigator, I am hopeful that this next phase will be completed as expeditiously as possible so that all the current and former special forces soldiers who have been deeply impacted by the inquiry process can move on with their lives.”

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