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Subject: Bipartisan support for army over use of 'dog pens'
Volkodav    9/3/2008 3:17:45 AM
Mark Dodd | September 03, 2008 THE Government and Opposition yesterday combined to defend the actions of special forces soldiers in Afghanistan after embarrassing admissions by the army that dog pens were used to hold Taliban detainees. Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon said yesterday the Diggers were not to blame for the situation that has infuriated Australian Muslim groups, who regard it as an insult to their religion, which classifies dogs as dirty animals. Speaking on ABC radio, Mr Fitzgibbon said the troops had no option but to use the dog pens before relocating their prisoners to the main base at Tarin Kowt. He accepted that cultural sensitivities had been offended but there would be no apology. "We are at war in Afghanistan with people who will employ any tactic, including the use of children as shields and as a means of propaganda, and it is a tough battle," he said. "But we always endeavour to comply on all occasions with international law and I am confident that our people have done so." Mr Fitzgibbon was supported by Opposition defence spokesman Nick Minchin. "It's pretty outrageous for any Australian to complain about the behaviour of Australian troops in relation to these Taliban extremists who not only treat other troops but their own people with such degradation, cruelty and appalling procedures," Senator Minchin said. "In this case, I think Australians should give our troops a bit of slack." The row erupted after an operation on April 29 by Australian special forces close to where their colleague Lance Corporal Jason Marks had been fatally shot by Taliban insurgents two days earlier. Four suspected Taliban were detained and brought to an unnamed Australian-built forward operating base where they were housed in individual pens formerly occupied by bomb squad dogs. The Australian understands that the pens were open air and petitioned by wire and hessian cloth. Defence declined a request by The Australian to provide details of the former dog pens despite anonymous telephone calls yesterday from Tarin Kowt-based Diggers that said numerous photographs had been taken of the rudimentary quarters for a separate Defence inquiry. A 70-year-old detainee was later released but the others were brought to the main Dutch detention facility at the Tarin Kowt base. ____________________________________________________________________ Poor precious dears, perhaps our guys should have treated them in a manor to which they are more accustomed and beaten them before filming them being beheaded and posting the images on the internet. No wait a minute we are filthy western infidels, we aren't allowed to behave in the same way as Gods Chosen people.
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Volkodav    Joel Fitzgibbon denies dogs had been in pens   9/4/2008 6:24:56 AM
Could it be that the pens weren't good enough for our dogs?

September 04, 2008

AUSTRALIAN troops did not use dog pens to hold four Taliban prisoners overnight, Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon says.

Defence has now told the minister the enclosure used to detain the four prisoners had never been used for dogs, contrary to a report of a defence inquiry into the alleged April incident.

The report, released last week, sparked an angry reaction from Australia's Islamic leadership who said no human being should be locked up in dog pens.

The latest advice from defence has upset Mr Fitzgibbon who said it had taken far too long for the new information to be disclosed.

"At the and of the day, it was unnecessary for me to be spending so much time defending our troops for something that wasn't actually a reality," he told Sky News today.

The row stemmed from allegations that Australian soldiers beat and humiliated four Taliban suspects who were captured in a raid and held overnight at a remote forward operating base.

The defence inquiry report, released last Friday, found no evidence of abuse, but said the four men had been held in pens previously used for dogs.

Mr Fitzgibbon today said he was disappointed by the claims and some of the sensational treatment of them by the media.

"All Australians I know know that our troops are not only the best fighters in the world, but the fairest fighters in the world," he said.

"The Australian sense of fair go runs right through the Australian Defence Force."

Defence apparently told the minister late yesterday the pens were never used to hold dogs.

The delay in information related to the way it came from the theatre of operations back to his office, Mr Fitzgibbon said.

"I did express my disappointment that it took so long to find out that indeed the idea the pens had been used for dogs wasn't true.

"I have made it pretty clear that I expect that information to be more timely and more accurate."

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