A former Australian soldier has accused his armed forces of traumatizing their own members during training. Traumatizing situations were staged as part of "torture training".
A former soldier raises serious allegations against the Australian armed forces: As part of a training program intended to prepare for possible torture after capture, individual soldiers are said to have been severely traumatized by scenes of torture and rape that were staged. The British "Guardian" reports that a complaint has been lodged with the Australian Human Rights Commission. A civil lawsuit against the training methods is being prepared.
Specifically, the complaint concerns a training course known as Conduct After Capture Level C. The program subjects soldiers to torture-like conditions for more than 72 hours. Former soldier Damien De Pyle, who had undergone torture training in 2019, told the Guardian about the final phase of the program, the "humiliation phase". De Pyle claims that he was disoriented after sleep deprivation and was forced by instructors to renounce his Christian faith, mime masturbation over a Bible, and simulate rape with a child's doll using a sex toy.
"It was a little girl and he told me to simulate raping the doll with this dildo...he grabbed my hands and started performing the movement with my hands, a dildo and the doll itself," said De Pyle. As part of the simulation, he was told that if he didn't comply, his comrades would be killed. "I was so far from reality that I thought they were actually going to kill one of the other prisoners." He and other soldiers experienced post-traumatic stress disorder after the training.
The training of the armed forces, in particular Conduct After Capture Level C, was already the subject of an investigation by the Senate in 2017. Former participants have reported that as part of the course, "captive" soldiers were stripped, hooded and handcuffed, held in stressed positions and tortured with loud noises, as Senator Jacqui Lambie explained in Parliament. In some cases, the participants said they had to endure intimidation by police dogs, fire extinguishers or minor physical abuse.
Ten soldiers had reported permanent psychological damage as part of the investigation, one described the combination of torture techniques and sleep and food deprivation as "gross negligence, possibly criminal negligence". The final report on the inquiry recognized the need for interrogation training, but the Senate expressed concern that the post-arrest behavior course was "the most effective and safest way to achieve these results."
The Ministry of Defense had been asked to reform the course to better protect trainees. For example, "Conduct After Capture Level B" terms should be revised to include information about the risk of physical and psychological injury that may result from participation in Level C training."
In addition, the committee recommended that "an independent review be conducted of individuals who have participated in Level C activities to identify and treat psychological injuries." In addition, it was demanded that the participants in the program had to be informed beforehand about potentially dangerous content and that their express consent had to be obtained afterwards. It is not known whether parts of the non-binding recommendations of the parliament were subsequently implemented.