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Australian Troops in Iraq Working With Fighting Forces Accused of War Crimes

Sydney Morning Herald reveals Australian troops 'training and assisting' U.S.-created and -backed Iraqi forces accused of human rights violations

Australian Cavalry Scout in Samawat, Iraq in 2007. The Austrlian military stands accused of numerous human rights violations and war crimes in Iraq. (Photo: Spc. Robert H. Baumgartner/Public Domain)

Australian Cavalry Scout in Samawat, Iraq in 2007. The Austrlian military stands accused of numerous human rights violations and war crimes in Iraq. (Photo: Spc. Robert H. Baumgartner/Public Domain)

The Sydney Morning Herald just revealed that Australian Special Forces in Iraq are now directly working with a U.S.-formed, -backed, and -trained "elite Iraqi security force accused of killing prisoners and other human rights violations."

Published early Saturday morning Australian time, the Herald article notes that Prime Minister Tony Abbott "has confirmed that the 200-strong Australian Special Operations Task Group in Iraq has begun providing 'training and assistance' for the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) in its battle against Islamic State."

"Former Australian defense intelligence officers say the service has 'unquestionably been responsible for major war crimes and unnecessary civilian casualties'," the article states.

A Reuters report last March found evidence that the CTS has directly perpetrated atrocities, including extrajudicial assassinations. Furthermore, a report from Human Rights Watch published in February 2011 finds that CTS is guilty of "torturing detainees with impunity" at a secret detention site in Baghdad.

The CTS is one of several Iraqi and international armed forces in Iraq, many of them also accused of war crimes, including the U.S. military, which is guilty of torture, massacres, use of chemical weapons, and cluster bombings of civilians in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.

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