World News – AU – Keri Stokes promised to stand by SAS

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Kerry Stokes, president of Seven West Media, wants to help members of the Special Air Service Regiment accused of war crimes, their families, and other members of an elite military unit through a special fund he helped establish, according to his spokesperson.

Mr Stokes also plans to donate the Victoria Crosse Medals and other medals awarded to former SAS Corporal Ben Roberts Smith to the Australian War Memorial if Mr Roberts Smith is unable to repay a loan to the media billionaire.

Mr. Stokes agreed to cover the legal costs of Mr. Roberts Smith in a defamation lawsuit filed for articles accusing him of war crimes..

Mr. Stokes said: « Funding his legal case is a private matter, yet he has placed his medals as collateral for a loan and will forfeit it if necessary. ».

“If this happens, I will donate his medals with Ben’s approval to the Australian War Memorial, as I have done with Venture Capital and other medals in the past.

The credit limit was first reported through the Australian Financial Review’s back window column on Monday. One of the sources said it was worth about $ 1 million.

In addition to the Australian Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery, Mr. Roberts Smith holds the Gallantry Medal and for Distinguished Service.

The Victoria Cross was awarded for a battle in June 2010 in Kandahar Province when he revealed himself to allow other members of his patrol to access a better location.. Then the enemy stormed and killed two machine guns.

Mr. Stokes has a longstanding relationship with SAS, which is based in his hometown of Perth. He was a co-founder of the SAS Resource Fund, which was created in 1996 after a night helicopter collision near Townsville killing and injuring 15 unit members and three military aviation regiment. .

In 2012, mining entrepreneur Andrew Forrest joined the board of directors of the fund, which provides financial assistance to soldiers and their families, former members of the regiment and their families when in financial hardship, according to his website..

Ben Roberts Smith is in Afghanistan as a corporal in the Special Air Services Regiment. Australian Defense Force

A spokesperson for Mr Stokes said the fund could be used to support current and former members of SAS during the investigation by the Special Prosecution Unit of the Department of Home Affairs into allegations that Australian soldiers executed 39 prisoners and civilians in Afghanistan during the war there.

He said the aid could include assistance with legal and other costs, including mental health treatment, although the decision must be made by the fund, which Mr. Stokes has no control over..

Army spokesperson Tim Allerton said: « He supports all of the SAS soldiers, not just Ben. ». “It’s the entire SAS community.

Mr. Roberts Smith is Executive Director of Channel 7, Brisbane. Nine, who owns The Australian Financial Review, is suing over reports in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald about his service in Afghanistan.

Defense Forces Commander Angus Campbell said Thursday that the second squadron of US Special Forces will be canceled and retired after the allegations.. .

Army Commander, General Lieutenant Richard Burr, was present at the SAS base in Perth Thursday morning. He commanded the regiment in 2003 and 2004.

The identities of 19 Australian soldiers accused of war crimes were redacted in the report, although General Campbell said their military honors could be revoked.

Any convictions could take years. Testimonies given by some 423 investigative witnesses are not admissible in court, and there is no certainty that cohesive Special Forces units will turn against each other in public trials..

There is also potential for political interference in the future. British governments have obstructed investigations and prosecutions of war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to Human Rights Watch, a lobby group.

She said that a six-year British investigation into the conduct of Special Forces in the Afghan war was closed in 2020 without charges being brought against any military. .

« Canberra must learn lessons from the UK’s failed efforts to prosecute soldiers implicated in war crimes in Iraq, » said Eileen Pearson, director of Human Rights Watch in Australia.. .

Australian investigators seem to appreciate that prosecutions may be difficult, citing problems in other Western countries that have gone to war..

“Even when the evidence seems strong and clear, dilemmas have been encountered, both political and popular,” the report said. The Australian trials are expected to face similar hurdles.

ASX should simply be the best exchange in the region. After this week, friends ran out.

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Ben Roberts Smith, Special Air Service Regiment, Victoria Cross for Australia, War Crimes, Angus Campbell, Australian Defense Force, Kerry Stokes, Australian War Memorial, Squadron, Australia

World News – AU – Keri Stokes promised to stand by SAS

Ref: https://www.afr.com

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