Australian soldiers Sapper James Martin, Lance Corporal Stjepan Milosevic and Private Robert Poate were killed as they played cards at a patrol base in Afghanistan in August 2012. (Photograph: Australian Defence Force)
Father of Australian soldier, Robert Poate (right) murdered by an Afghani traitor as he played cards calls out dishonest media over his son’s killer and how Afghani authorities ignored the killer’s court imposed death sentence and released him from jail
By Dr Dan Mealey, Afghanistan veteran
Next month we will witness the landmark defamation appeal of Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG against Fairfax Media Publications et al, playing out in a media that has consistently withheld critical context, while inserting a misrepresentation of the facts. This is happening with a breathtaking silence of ADF commanders, whose careerism is more important than the welfare and rights of their own soldiers.
This is a case that affects all of us. CPL Roberts-Smith’s predicament highlights a justice system that is presently failing many good Australians facing vexatious allegations. Put simply, our investigators, prosecutors and judicators are leaning into a “public interest” and wokeism driven by journalists whose unbalanced reporting is not being scrutinised by fellow-journalists too afraid of being cancelled. And lest we forget that good journalists have actually been cancelled, in the promotion of the truth.
The truth cannot be suppressed however, and whether in his appeal, in the High Court, or beyond, the machinations of CPL Roberts-Smith’s detractors will be exposed.
Critical to his case is the context provided below (with permission) by Hugh Poate, father of Private Robert Poate, killed by murderous traitor Hekmatullah.
I leave you with what Hugh has to say… I ask you please to share widely, to balance a “public interest” fuelled by uninformed journalists who control the whole narrative.
Father of son shot in cold blood by Afghani insurgent defends Ben Roberts Smith
By Hugh Poate | Author of ACT Book of the Year 2022 Award, “Failures of Command: The Death of Private Robert Poate.”
Ben Roberts-Smith put his life on the line for this country and was awarded the Medal of Gallantry and the Victoria Cross for exceptional bravery. The citations for each of these bravery awards are on display at the AWM for all Australians to read, uninfluenced by negative media reports.
There are two particular journalists presently presenting themselves as journalist demigods for supposedly exposing the most highly decorated Australian soldier of the Afghanistan war for alleged war crimes, although he has neither been charged nor convicted of any war crimes. The media reports by these journalists that initiated the defamation case brought by BRS appear to have an obvious desire to bring down a tall poppy to elevate their own careers in journalism.
However, the reports by these journalists and their so-called mastheads have omitted the following ‘facts’ that would provide proper balance and context.
The three media outlets involved in this case have mentioned that BRS and other SASR soldiers were at Dawan following the “killing” of three Australian soldiers. They have deliberately failed to mention that a rogue Afghan National Army soldier known as Hekmatullah “murdered” the three Australian soldiers, one of whom was our son, Private Robert Poate.
This is a war crime”. Some of the alleged breaches in the rules of armed conflict by BRS and other SASR soldiers occurred at Darwan and other places during the hunt for Hekmatullah.
It should also be noted that Hekmatullah was subsequently captured and tried in the Afghan Supreme court on four offences — the murder of three Australian soldiers, the wounding of two, treason and membership of a terrorist organisation (the Taliban). He proudly confessed to all charges and was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court. Hekmatullah has been convicted in a court of law for war crimes. Despite frequent requests by the three families to Australian Ministers for Defence and Ministers for Foreign Affairs to apply diplomatic pressure for Hekmatullah’s sentence to be carried out, they refused.
During the peace negotiation process between the Americans and the Taliban, during which neither Australia nor any other of the 50 ISAF countries were invited to participate, the Americans agreed on behalf of the rest of the world (in typical American style) to release all Taliban prisoners, including Hekmatullah.
Hekmatullah is still a free man today being treated as a hero by the Taliban for killing infidels — Australian soldiers who put their lives on the line for the country and lost their lives from a most heinous war crime. Hekmatullah has told The Australian journalist Jeremy Kelly that he would do the same again.
Again, the three families wrote to the Ministers for Defence and DFAT whose late response was to ask that Hekmatullah remain in custody. Hekmatullah’s sentence was not a custodial sentence, he had been sentenced to death.
When the Americans killed Zawahiri in 2022 in a drone strike for his part in planning the Twin Towers attacks by Al Qaeda, it was known that Hekmatullah lived only 50 metres away from Zawahiri. But the Americans did not strike Hekmatullah — he had not killed any Americans! None of this information has been reported to provide context and balance in reports of the BRS defamation case.
Lying main stream media causing military suicides
It has also been conveniently omitted in all reporting by these journalists that the Taliban did not comply with the rules of armed conflict set out in the Geneva Conventions. Furthermore, the Taliban did not comply with the Ottawa Treaty which prohibits the use of anti-personnel mines such as IED’s which were used extensively by the Taliban. Hundreds of Australians and other Western soldiers were killed, dismembered and turned into mincemeat by IED’s.
The families of all 41 of our brave soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan and the 261 who were wounded have been forgotten by the media, the ADF and successive Governments. Additionally, more than 1,640 veterans of this war, including SASR veterans, have since taken their own lives. More are likely to do so as a result of the unbalanced media reporting. These facts have been conveniently disregarded by these journalists, none of whom have put their lives on the line in uniform. Their media reporting has been, and continues to be, grossly unbalanced, and for this they have presented with Walkley awards by other journalists.