Shocking picture of Aussie soldier emerges
Shocking pictures have emerged purporting to show an Australian soldier drinking from a prosthetic leg of a dead man in Afghanistan.
The Guardian has published the pictures that are reportedly taken at an unofficial bar known as the Fat Lady's Arms, inside Australia's special forces base in Tarin Kowt, the capital of Uruzgan province, in 2009.
Fairfax had reported two years ago that Australian troops had been using the prosthetic leg of a prisoner from Afghanistan as a drinking vessel at SAS headquarters in Perth, after it was brought back as a souvenir in 2009.
However pictures of the incident have not been published until now.
Another picture appears to show two soldiers performing a dance with the leg.
In the Brereton Report, the Fat Lady's Arms is mentioned as a place that was unauthorised, but that was resupplied with booze. However, there is no mention of the leg in the unredacted sections.
In a section of the report by Dr David Whetham, Professor of Ethics and the Military Profession at King's College London, he said troops would go there to unwind.
"There was supposed to be no alcohol, but there was a pub in the base - the Fat Lady's Arms - 'somewhere there where we can do certain stuff but we're not going to get caught and it's not going to be regarded as misconduct because that's who we are and that's what we do'," he wrote citing a source whose name has been redacted.
In a section about how ethical leadership was compromised, report said there were was "toleration, acceptance and participation in a widespread disregard for behavioural norms: such as drinking on operations, the Fat Lady's Arms, and lax standards of dress, personal hygiene and behaviour - and not only on operations - which would not have been tolerated elsewhere in Army".
The Department of Defence issued a statement to news.com.au in response to the pictures saying that all credible allegations of wrongdoing will be investigated, either through the Brereton-linked Inquiry or otherwise.
"The report has been redacted to remove names and details that could identify individuals against whom the Inquiry has found credible information to support allegations of criminal wrongdoing or other misconduct," a spokesman said.
"Where there is information provided to Defence not addressed as part of the Afghanistan Inquiry, these matters will be investigated thoroughly and acted on.
"It is critical that all matters are considered carefully, and any actions are undertaken according to the ADF's longstanding and well-established processes, ensuring the rights of individuals to due process and fair hearing are protected."
The images come amid immense scrutiny of Australian troops and their behaviour in Afghanistan.
Brereton's report recommended that 19 soldiers be investigated by police in connection with the alleged murder of 39 prisoners and civilians and the alleged cruel treatment of two others.
The alleged crimes have been seized upon by the Chinese government, amid a tense trade stand-off with Australia.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian sparked outrage in Canberra on Monday when he posted a staged image of a man dressed as an Australian soldier holding a bloody knife to an Afghan child's throat.
Scott Morrison had called the tweet "repugnant", holding a virtual press conference from quarantine to demand Twitter take it down and China apologise.
On Tuesday, China issued a blistering response to the "rage and roar" of Australian politicians, accusing Mr Morrison of "overreacting".
"We would like to further stress the following: the rage and roar of some Australian politicians and media is nothing but misreading of and over-reaction to Mr Zhao's tweet," a Chinese Embassy statement said.
"The accusations made are simply to serve two purposes. One is to deflect public attention from the horrible atrocities by certain Australian soldiers. The other is to blame China for the worsening of bilateral ties. There may be another attempt to stoke domestic nationalism."
Originally published as Shocking picture of Aussie soldier emerges