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Doctors at war

<p><em>In the annals of military history, the valour and sacrifices of doctors who served alongside soldiers in combat zones often go unrecognised. Yet their stories, as retired colonel Robert Likeman poignantly illustrates in his Australian Doctors at War series, reveal a legacy of courage and commitment that is integral to understanding the full scope of wartime heroism.</em></p> <p>---</p> <p>Winston Churchill, in his <em>Sketches on Service During the Indian Frontier Campaign of 1897</em>, wrote, “The spectacle of a doctor in action among soldiers, in equal danger and with equal courage, saving life where others are taking it, allaying pain where all others are causing it, is one which must always seem glorious, whether to God or man”.</p> <p>It is certainly true that doctors in a combat zone share the risks of shot and shell equally with the fighting soldier, but they also experience the added stress of taking responsibility for those wounded and dying on the battlefield, and in situations where the best of treatment cannot be readily given.</p> <p>Glorious or otherwise, the stories of our Australian Army doctors at war remain relatively unrecognised. Doctors have always been among the first to volunteer – in all 1,242 doctors served with the first Australian Imperial Force, careless for their own safety, and 55 of them failed to return. These men represented a significant proportion of the medical workforce in Australia, which by 1937 only reached 5,000. In World War 2, with the introduction of compulsory military service, the number of serving doctors exceeded 2,500. Hardly any of them are still with us today, but their children and grandchildren are our fellow citizens, and in many cases our local doctor may be one of these. It is a legacy not to be dismissed lightly. </p> <p>Those who have served in the Army know that treating the ailments of soldiers and preserving their health occupies much more time than dressing their wounds. In World War 1, fought over the agricultural lands of Europe, infectious diseases such as gas gangrene, tetanus and trench fever were common. In the deserts of World War 2, these were replaced by hepatitis, sandfly fever and eye infections. New Guinea presented a wholly different spectrum of disease, dominated by malaria, scrub typhus and amoebic dysentery. The maintenance of “fighting fitness” was a daily struggle for the doctors. </p> <p>The 2021 Interim Report of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide did not identify medical officers as being particularly at risk of psychological injury as a result of their service in a war zone. But in view of their exposure to mass trauma and death, they might be assumed to have a significant risk of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, both from the chances of being wounded or killed, and from the guilt associated with the failure to preserve life. Two of the medical officers who served at Gallipoli shot themselves on their return to Egypt, perhaps because they had seen men die who might have been saved with better medical attention. Fourteen other doctors from the 1st Australian Imperial Force are known to have committed suicide after their return to Australia. </p> <p>Close to 3,000 Australian nurses served overseas with the Australian Army Nursing Service in World War 1, but female doctors were not permitted to enlist. A significant number of them however, at least 19, served in the British Army or in voluntary hospitals in Europe. One of them, Phoebe Chapple, was awarded the Military Medal for Bravery. In World War 2, 22 women doctors were commissioned in total – moreso due to the shortage of manpower than from egalitarian principles – though none of them were posted overseas. In recent overseas deployments, women doctors in the Army have quite properly taken their rightful place.</p> <p>The military service and civilian practice of all the Australian doctors who served in both World Wars has been meticulously documented in my six-volume series, <em>Australian Doctors at War</em>, published by Halstead Press. Your relatives may be among them.</p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/06/Robert_Likeman_01.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><em>The Inevitable Hour</em> is the sixth and final volume of my <em>Australian Doctors at War</em> series, covering the period from January 1943 to the disbanding of the Second Australian Imperial Force in April 1947. Even after the Japanese had been driven from Papua and New Guinea, they still retained most of the archipelago. The threat to Australia was great, and despite being a then small nation, the country mobilised quickly to disrupt Japanese holdings in Madang, Wewak and Wau. Overcoming the constant influx of wounded men needing treatment, suffering themselves from afflictions such as hepatitis, dysentery and depression, aggravated by extreme and tropical climates, Australia’s medical officers were under considerable pressure, during the war and in the monumental demobilisation of the 2nd AIF that followed Japanese defeat.</p> <p><em><strong>ABOUT THE AUTHOR</strong></em><br />Robert Likeman is a graduate of Oxford University, where he studied Classics, Oriental Languages and Medicine. He is a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology, in tropical medicine, and in rural and remote medicine. After service in the British Army he migrated to Australia in 1972. He is the author of seven books of military history and two biographies, and co-author of a textbook of obstetrics and gynaecology for doctors practising in developing countries.</p> <p><em>Images courtesy of Robert Likeman.</em></p>

Books

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Boomers vs millennials? Free yourself from the phoney generation wars

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/bobby-duffy-98570">Bobby Duffy</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/kings-college-london-1196">King's College London</a></em></p> <p>Generational thinking is a big idea that’s been horribly corrupted and devalued by endless myths and stereotypes. These clichés have fuelled fake battles between “snowflake” millennials and “selfish” baby boomers, with younger generations facing a “war on woke” and older generations accused of “stealing” the future from the young.</p> <p>As I argue in my book, <a href="https://atlantic-books.co.uk/book/generations/">Generations</a>, this is a real shame. A more careful understanding of what’s really different between generations is one of the best tools we have to understand change – and predict the future.</p> <p>Some of the great names in sociology and philosophy saw understanding generational change as central to understanding society overall. <a href="http://dhspriory.org/kenny/PhilTexts/Comte/Philosophy2.pdf">Auguste Comte</a>, for example, identified the generation as a key factor in “the basic speed of human development”.</p> <p>He argued that “we should not hide the fact that our social progress rests essentially upon death; which is to say that the successive steps of humanity necessarily require a continuous renovation … from one generation to the next”. We humans get set in our ways once we’re past our formative years, and we need the constant injection of new participants to keep society moving forward.</p> <p>Understanding whether, and how, generations are different is vital to understanding society. The balance between generations is constantly shifting, as older cohorts die out and are replaced by new entrants. If younger generations truly do have different attitudes or behaviours to older generations, this will reshape society, and we can, to some extent, predict how it will develop if we can identify those differences.</p> <p>But in place of this big thinking, today we get clickbait headlines and bad research on millennials “<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/millennials-hate-napkins-2016-3?r=US&amp;IR=T">killing the napkin industry</a>” or on how baby boomers have “<a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/boomers-are-blame-aging-america/592336/">ruined everything</a>”. We’ve fallen a long way.</p> <h2>Myth busting</h2> <p>To see the true value of generational thinking, we need to identify and discard the many myths. For example, as I outline in the book, gen Z and millennials are not lazy at work or disloyal to their employers. They’re also no more materialistic than previous generations of young: a focus on being rich is something we tend to grow out of.</p> <p>Old people are not uncaring or unwilling to act on climate change: in fact, they are more likely than young people to boycott products for social purpose reasons.</p> <p>And our current generation of young are not a particularly unusual group of “culture warriors”. Young people are always at the leading edge of change in cultural norms, around race, immigration, sexuality and gender equality. The issues have changed, but the gap between young and old is not greater now than in the past.</p> <p>Meanwhile, there are real, and vitally important, generational differences hidden in this mess. To see them, we need to separate the three effects that explain all change in societies. Some patterns are simple “lifecycle effects”, where attitudes and behaviours are to do with our age, not which generation we are born into. Some are “period effects” – where everyone is affected, such as in a war, economic crisis or a pandemic.</p> <p>And finally, there are “cohort effects”, which is where a new generation is different from others at the same age, and they stay different. It’s impossible to entirely separate these distinct forces, but we can often get some way towards it – and when we do, we can predict the future in a much more meaningful way.</p> <p>There are many real generational differences, in vitally important areas of life. For example, the probability of you owning your own home is hugely affected by when you were born. Millennials are around half as likely to be a homeowner than generations born only a couple of decades earlier.</p> <p>There is also a real cohort effect in experience of mental health disorders, particularly among recent generations of young women. Our relationship with alcohol and likelihood of smoking is also tied to our cohort, with huge generational declines in very regular drinking and smoking. Each of these point to different futures, from increased strain on mental health services to declining alcohol sales.</p> <p>But lifecycle and period effects are vitally important too. For example, there is truth in the idea that we grow more conservative as we age. One analysis suggests that this ageing effect is worth around <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0261379413000875">0.35% to the Conservatives each year</a>, which may not sound like a lot, but is very valuable over the course of a political lifetime.</p> <p>And, of course, the pandemic provides a very powerful example of how period effects can dramatically change things for us all.</p> <h2>Reaching beyond the avocado</h2> <p>When there is such richness in the realities, why are there so many myths? It’s partly down to bad marketing and workplace research – that is, people jumping on the generation bandwagon to get media coverage for their products or to sell consultancy to businesses on how to engage young employees.</p> <p>This has become its own mini-industry. In 2015, US companies spent up to US$70 million (£51 million) on this sort of “advice” <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/helping-bosses-decode-millennialsfor-20-000-an-hour-1463505666">according to the Wall Street Journal</a>, with some experts making as much as US$20,000 an hour. Over 400 LinkedIn users now describe themselves solely as a “millennial expert” or “millennial consultant”.</p> <p>Campaigners and politicians also play to these imagined differences. Our increasing focus on “<a href="https://www.kcl.ac.uk/policy-institute/assets/culture-wars-in-the-uk.pdf">culture wars</a>” often involves picking out particular incidents in universities, such as the <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-45717841">banning of clapping</a> at events or the <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-57409743">removal of a portrait of the Queen</a> to exaggerate how culturally different young people today are.</p> <p>Maybe less obviously, politicians such as former US President Barack Obama repeatedly lionise coming generations as more focused on equality, when the evidence shows they’re often not that different. These assertions are not only wrong, but create false expectations and divides.</p> <p>Some have had enough, calling on the Pew Research Center in the US, which has been a champion of generational groups, to <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/07/generation-labels-mean-nothing-retire-them/&amp;data=04%257C01%257C">stop conducting this type of analysis</a>. I think that misses the point: it’s how it’s applied rather than the idea of generations that’s wrong.</p> <p>We should defend the big idea and call out the myths, not abandon the field to the “millennial consultants”.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/167138/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/bobby-duffy-98570">Bobby Duffy</a>, Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Policy Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/kings-college-london-1196">King's College London</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/boomers-vs-millennials-free-yourself-from-the-phoney-generation-wars-167138">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Mind

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Legendary Star Wars and James Bond actor passes away

<p>The galaxy far, far away has dimmed a little with the passing of Michael Culver, a distinguished British actor whose name became etched in the annals of cinematic history, particularly for his role in the iconic 1980 film <em>Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back</em>.</p> <p>Culver, who portrayed Captain Needa, the unfortunate Imperial officer, met his demise in one of the franchise's most memorable scenes at the hands of Darth Vader. However, his legacy extends far beyond the realms of science fiction, encompassing a career spanning over five decades of stage, screen and political activism.</p> <p>Born in 1938 in Hempstead, North London, to esteemed parents within the theatre industry, Culver was destined for a life under the spotlight. His father, Roland Culver, was a notable West End stage actor, while his mother, Daphne Rye, served as a casting director in London-based theatre. Following in their footsteps, Culver honed his craft at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, laying the foundation for a prolific acting career.</p> <p>Culver's journey in the performing arts began in the late 1950s, with appearances on Broadway in Shakespearean classics such as <em>King Henry V</em>, <em>Hamlet</em>, and <em>Twelfth Night</em>. His talent soon graced the West End stage in 1962, marking the start of a distinguished theatrical career. Transitioning to the small screen, Culver made his onscreen debut in 1961, captivating audiences with his versatile performances in British television series and movies.</p> <p>However, it was Culver's portrayal of Captain Needa in <em>The Empire Strikes Back</em> that solidified his status as a cultural icon. Despite his character's brief appearance, Culver left an indelible mark on audiences worldwide, immortalised in one of cinema's most unforgettable moments. His confrontation with Vader, culminating in a chilling demise, remains etched in the memories of countless fans, a testament to Culver's ability to captivate audiences with his presence.</p> <p>Beyond his intergalactic exploits, Culver's talents graced a multitude of productions, including notable roles in <em>Sherlock Holmes, A Passage to India</em>, <em>Secret Army, </em>and even appearing in two James Bond movies – <em>From Russia With Love </em>and <em>Thunderball</em> – in uncredited roles. His versatility and dedication to his craft earned him admiration and respect from peers and audiences alike. Yet, Culver's contributions extended beyond the realms of entertainment; in the early 2000s, he shifted his focus to political activism, leveraging his platform to advocate for causes close to his heart.</p> <p>Despite bidding farewell to the limelight, Culver's legacy endures through the countless lives he touched and the memories he forged on stage and screen.</p> <p>An extended message on the Alliance Agents Facebook page, who represented Culver, read as follows:</p> <p>"We are very sad to confirm the passing of our friend and client Michael Culver. A career spanning over 50 years with notable roles in Sherlock Holmes, A Passage to India, Secret Army and of course one of the most memorable death scenes in the Star Wars franchise. Michael largely gave up acting in the early 2000's to concentrate his efforts into his political activism. It's been an honor to have represented Michael for for the last decade and to have taken him to some of the best Star Wars events in the UK and Europe.  A real highlight was taking Michael to Celebration in Chicago in 2019.  He was lost for words when he saw his queue line with nearly 200 people waiting to see him. We worked with Michael just 3 weeks ago at his last home signing with our friends at Elite Signatures. Michel died on Tuesday 27th February at the age of 85."  </p> <p>"We miss him."</p> <p>His passing leaves a void in the hearts of fans and colleagues, a reminder of the fleeting nature of life's curtain call. As we reflect on his remarkable journey, let us celebrate the life and legacy of Michael Culver, an actor whose talents transcended galaxies and whose spirit will continue to inspire generations to come.</p> <p>In his memory, let us heed the timeless words of Captain Needa himself: "We shall double our efforts."</p> <p>Rest in peace, Michael Culver. The force will always be with you.</p> <p><em>Images: IMDB / Wookiepedia</em></p>

Caring

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War in Ukraine affected wellbeing worldwide, but people’s speed of recovery depended on their personality

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/luke-smillie-7502">Luke Smillie</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>The war in Ukraine has had impacts around the world. <a href="https://mitsloan.mit.edu/ideas-made-to-matter/ripple-effects-russia-ukraine-war-test-global-economies">Supply chains</a> have been disrupted, the <a href="https://news.un.org/pages/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/GCRG_2nd-Brief_Jun8_2022_FINAL.pdf?utm_source=United+Nations&amp;utm_medium=Brief&amp;utm_campaign=Global+Crisis+Response">cost of living</a> has soared and we’ve seen the <a href="https://www.unhcr.org/hk/en/73141-ukraine-fastest-growing-refugee-crisis-in-europe-since-wwii.html">fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War II</a>. All of these are in addition to the devastating humanitarian and economic impacts within Ukraine.</p> <p>Our international team was conducting a global study on wellbeing in the lead up to and after the Russian invasion. This provided a unique opportunity to examine the psychological impact of the outbreak of war.</p> <p>As we explain in a new study published in <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-024-44693-6">Nature Communications</a>, we learned the toll on people’s wellbeing was evident across nations, not just <a href="https://ijmhs.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13033-023-00598-3">in Ukraine</a>. These effects appear to have been temporary – at least for the average person.</p> <p>But people with certain psychological vulnerabilities struggled to recover from the shock of the war.</p> <h2>Tracking wellbeing during the outbreak of war</h2> <p>People who took part in our study completed a rigorous “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2773515/">experience-sampling</a>” protocol. Specifically, we asked them to report their momentary wellbeing four times per day for a whole month.</p> <p>Data collection began in October 2021 and continued throughout 2022. So we had been tracking wellbeing around the world during the weeks surrounding the outbreak of war in February 2022.</p> <p>We also collected measures of personality, along with various sociodemographic variables (including age, gender, political views). This enabled us to assess whether different people responded differently to the crisis. We could also compare these effects across countries.</p> <p>Our analyses focused primarily on 1,341 participants living in 17 European countries, excluding Ukraine itself (44,894 experience-sampling reports in total). We also expanded these analyses to capture the experiences of 1,735 people living in 43 countries around the world (54,851 experience-sampling reports) – including in Australia.</p> <h2>A global dip in wellbeing</h2> <p>On February 24 2022, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, there was a sharp decline in wellbeing around the world. There was no decline in the month leading up to the outbreak of war, suggesting the change in wellbeing was not already occurring for some other reason.</p> <p>However, there was a gradual increase in wellbeing during the month <em>after</em> the Russian invasion, suggestive of a “return to baseline” effect. Such effects are commonly reported in psychological research: situations and events that impact our wellbeing often (<a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237535630_Adaptation_and_the_Set-Point_Model_of_Subjective_Well-BeingDoes_Happiness_Change_After_Major_Life_Events">though not always</a>) do so <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7062343_Beyond_the_Hedonic_Treadmill_Revising_the_Adaptation_Theory_of_Well-Being">temporarily</a>.</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, people in Europe experienced a sharper dip in wellbeing compared to people living elsewhere around the world. Presumably the war was much more salient for those closest to the conflict, compared to those living on an entirely different continent.</p> <p>Interestingly, day-to-day fluctuations in wellbeing mirrored the salience of the war on social media as events unfolded. Specifically, wellbeing was lower on days when there were more tweets mentioning Ukraine on Twitter/X.</p> <p>Our results indicate that, on average, it took around two months for people to return to their baseline levels of wellbeing after the invasion.</p> <h2>Different people, different recoveries</h2> <p>There are <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31944795/">strong links</a> between our wellbeing and our individual personalities.</p> <p>However, the dip in wellbeing following the Russian invasion was fairly uniform across individuals. None of the individual factors assessed in our study, including personality and sociodemographic factors, predicted people’s response to the outbreak of war.</p> <p>On the other hand, personality did play a role in how quickly people recovered. Individual differences in people’s recovery were linked to a personality trait called “stability”. Stability is a broad dimension of personality that combines low neuroticism with high agreeableness and conscientiousness (three traits from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/social-sciences/big-five">Big Five</a> personality framework).</p> <p>Stability is so named because it reflects the stability of one’s overall psychological functioning. This can be illustrated by breaking stability down into its three components:</p> <ol> <li> <p>low neuroticism describes <a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.2212154120">emotional stability</a>. People low in this trait experience less intense negative emotions such as anxiety, fear or anger, in response to negative events</p> </li> <li> <p>high agreeableness describes <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-63285-010">social stability</a>. People high in this trait are generally more cooperative, kind, and motivated to maintain social harmony</p> </li> <li> <p>high conscientiousness describes <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2023.112331">motivational stability</a>. People high in this trait show more effective patterns of goal-directed self-regulation.</p> </li> </ol> <p>So, our data show that people with less stable personalities fared worse in terms of recovering from the impact the war in Ukraine had on wellbeing.</p> <p>In a supplementary analysis, we found the effect of stability was driven specifically by neuroticism and agreeableness. The fact that people higher in neuroticism recovered more slowly accords with a wealth of research linking this trait with <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10573882/">coping difficulties</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5428182/">poor mental health</a>.</p> <p>These effects of personality on recovery were stronger than those of sociodemographic factors, such as age, gender or political views, which were not statistically significant.</p> <p>Overall, our findings suggest that people with certain psychological vulnerabilities will often struggle to recover from the shock of global events such as the outbreak of war in Ukraine.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/224147/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/luke-smillie-7502">Luke Smillie</a>, Professor in Personality Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/war-in-ukraine-affected-wellbeing-worldwide-but-peoples-speed-of-recovery-depended-on-their-personality-224147">original article</a>.</em></p>

Mind

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War veteran loses $18,000 to Netflix scam

<p>Shane Arnold, 71, was left with nothing after he fell for an elaborate Netflix scam, allegedly run by a teenager. </p> <p>The war veteran was robbed of $18,000 when he thought he was entitled to a refund after receiving a fake Netflix email.</p> <p>After he entered his personal banking details, the accused scammer allegedly used this information to call Arnold the following day claiming to be a security officer from Commonwealth Bank.</p> <p>"(It was) extremely convincing," Arnold told <em>9News</em>. </p> <p>"He spoke in a posh English accent."</p> <p>Arnold was allegedly told by a 19-year-old, whose voice had been disguised with AI, that his account had been compromised and ordered to put his bank cards in a bag, to be collected by a driver.</p> <p>Hours later, the accused teen who is from Braybrook, Melbourne allegedly withdrew thousands of dollars from ATMs in Braybrook and West Footscray, and purchased dozens of gift cards from Kmart.</p> <p>He also allegedly filled up on fuel, bought a new iPhone, and some strawberry milk and ice cream. </p> <p>The teen has since been charged over the incident, but Arnold is still fighting hard to get his money back. </p> <p>"I've worked for 50-odd years to get that money," he told the publication, adding that he felt "like my heart had been ripped out".</p> <p>The senior also claimed that the bank was partly to blame, and has lodged a report to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) who are currently managing his case. </p> <p>Arnold added that Commonwealth Bank had only offered to reimburse him $1000, and said that everyone who'd been scammed deserved to have their money returned to them.</p> <p>"I hope all those people get their money back," he said.</p> <p>"None of them deserved to be scammed and none of them did anything wrong."</p> <p><em>Images: Nine News</em></p>

Legal

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Aussie love story from WWII immortalised in the war memorial

<p>An Australian couple's love story that defied the odds of time and distance has been immortalised in the war memorial.</p> <p>The Australian War Memorial is calling for volunteers to help transcribe thousands of love letters sent from soldiers in the war, to their loved ones back at home. </p> <p>Launching on Valentine's Day, the project will see the digital release of hundreds of thousands of personal letters, diaries and other handwritten documents kept safe for decades. </p> <p>Among those stories is the tale of Mac and Dot, two lovebirds separated by World War II. </p> <p>Their love story began in 1939, when Mac was 17 and Dorothy was 14. </p> <p>Dorothy - or as Mac referred to her, his Darling Dot - was forbidden to go on a date with Mac after her father refused to give his blessing. </p> <p>"He kept on asking me to go out but my father wouldn't let me," Dorothy laughed as she told Ally Langdon on <em>A Current Affair</em>. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3Rj4g9vjIS/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3Rj4g9vjIS/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by A Current Affair (@acurrentaffair9)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Mac was soon off to war, but his plan was always to return home to Dot. </p> <p>"He said to me, 'When I come back home...Will you come out with me then?'" Dorothy reminisced.</p> <p>"I said, 'Of course I will, Mac!' And then he gave me a kiss and went to war."</p> <p>The young couple then continued to write each other letters every week for five long years, until Mac was captured by the German army and held as a prisoner of war. </p> <p>Despite his capture, Mac held onto every letter Dot had ever written him, as he remained determined to get home to his beloved. </p> <p>"I hated him being away, and when the letters came back oh gee they were wonderful," Dorothy said.</p> <p>"A letter meant he was still alive, you see, so it was so exciting."</p> <p>In April 1945, Dot received the best letter of all: Mac had escaped and was coming home. </p> <p>"Hello my darling. What does one say in a moment such as this?" Dot wrote on April 30th 1945.</p> <p>"I have butterflies in my stomach, love in my heart and few words that make sense in my mind. Well Mac, it's really coming at last. You're almost home". </p> <p>And Mac wrote back to that, "Hello darling. I miss you more now than ever."</p> <p>"Unfortunately I can't find a boat to take me back to you. If they don't hurry I guess I'll just have to pinch a rowing boat and see what I can do!" </p> <p>When Mac returned home, he brought with him half a decade's worth of those love letters from Dot, as well as a portrait of himself painted by another prisoner of war. </p> <p>It hangs proudly at the end of Dorothy's bed and is the first thing she sees when she wakes.</p> <p>Now Robyn Van Dyke and Terrie-Anne Simmonds from the Australian War Memorial are sifting through thousands of donated love letters, including Mac's and Dorothy's.</p> <p>"He not only managed to escape, but he managed to take all her letters with him and that blows me away because it's not a small amount of letters," Robyn said.</p> <p>The team is looking for <a href="https://transcribe.awm.gov.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener">volunteers</a> to help ensure those stories, and all that love, live forever.</p> <p>Dorothy, who is now 101 years old, had more than 70 wonderful years with Mac before he died in 2014. </p> <p>"He was nearly 90, you know. And me I just kept on going and going and going!" she said.</p> <p>"He'd be up there watching every minute I bet. We had such fun. Oh dear we did have fun. We laughed a lot and we cried a lot."</p> <p>"But we lived - and that was the main thing."</p> <p><em>Image credits: A Current Affair </em></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 24px 0px 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 18px; line-height: 1.333; font-family: 'Proxima Nova', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-kerning: inherit; font-variant-alternates: inherit; font-variant-ligatures: inherit; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-variant-position: inherit; font-feature-settings: inherit; font-optical-sizing: inherit; font-variation-settings: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; caret-color: #333333; color: #333333; letter-spacing: 0.25px;"> </p>

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After 3 months of devastation in the Israel-Hamas war, is anyone ‘winning’?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ian-parmeter-932739"><em>Ian Parmeter</em></a><em>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></p> <p>The 19th century German war strategist and field marshal Helmuth von Moltke famously <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/strategy-9780199325153?cc=us&amp;lang=en&amp;">coined</a> the aphorism “No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy”. His observation might well be applied to the tragedy we are witnessing in Gaza.</p> <p>Three months after the current conflict began, civilians have borne the brunt of the violence on both sides, with the deaths of more than 22,000 Palestinians in Gaza and 1,200 Israelis. Some 85% of Gazans <a href="https://apnews.com/article/israel-hamas-war-news-01-03-2024-3b77b0c36bf2cd9922b7a484234bef5f">have also been displaced</a> and a quarter of the population is facing a famine, according to the United Nations.</p> <p>The conflict still has a long way to run and may be headed towards stalemate. From a geopolitical perspective, here’s where the main players stand at the start of the new year.</p> <h2>Israel: limited success …</h2> <p>Israel has so far failed to achieve either of its primary war aims: the destruction of Hamas and freedom for the remainder of the 240 Israelis taken hostage on October 7.</p> <p>Hamas fighters continue to use their tunnel network to ambush Israeli soldiers and are firing rockets at Israel, albeit in much lower volumes: 27 were <a href="https://www.timesofisrael.com/at-stroke-of-midnight-hamas-attacks-israel-with-heavy-new-year-rocket-barrage/">fired</a> at the start of the new year, <a href="https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/idf-9500-rockets-fired-at-israel-since-oct-7-including-3000-in-1st-hours-of-onslaught/">compared</a> with 3,000 in the first hours of the conflict on October 7.</p> <p>There are still around <a href="https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2023/12/20/israel-isnt-sure-what-to-do-about-the-hostages-in-gaza">130 Israelis</a> being held hostage, and only <a href="https://www.rand.org/pubs/commentary/2023/12/five-potential-next-steps-for-the-hostage-situation.html">one hostage</a> has been freed by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), as opposed to releases arranged through Qatari and Egyptian mediators. Israeli society is divided between those who want to prioritise negotiations to release the hostages and those who want to prioritise the elimination of Hamas.</p> <p>Israel achieved an important symbolic success with the apparent targeted killing of Hamas deputy leader <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/israel-lebanon-hamas-saleh-al-arouri-fears-widening-regional-conflict/">Saleh al-Arouri</a> in Beirut on January 2. Though Israel has not formally claimed responsibility, there is little doubt it was <a href="https://www.axios.com/2024/01/02/hamas-saleh-arouri-killed-beirut-hezbollah-israel-gaza">behind</a> the killing.</p> <p>But the two Gaza–based Hamas leaders Israel most wants to eliminate, political leader Yahya Sinwar and military leader Mohammed Deif, are still at large.</p> <p>Israel still has US support in the UN Security Council, which has <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2023/12/22/politics/un-security-council-resolution-israel-gaza-resolution/index.html">managed to pass</a> only one toothless resolution since the war began. But the Biden administration is <a href="https://apnews.com/article/biden-israel-hamas-oct-7-44c4229d4c1270d9cfa484b664a22071">publicly pressuring</a> Israel to change its tactics to minimise Palestinian casualties.</p> <h2>…and facing a ‘day after’ conundrum</h2> <p>The Israeli government is also divided on how Gaza should be run when the fighting stops.</p> <p>Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has <a href="https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/article-777731">said</a> he won’t accept Gaza remaining “Hamastan” (Hamas-controlled) or becoming “Fatahstan” (ruled by the Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by the secular Fatah party). US President Joe Biden <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/biden-says-palestinian-authority-should-ultimately-govern-gaza-west-bank-2023-11-18/">prefers</a> a Gaza government led by a reformed Palestinian Authority, but Netanyahu has rejected this and has not articulated an alternative plan.</p> <p>Defence Minister Yoav Gallant this week <a href="https://www.timesofisrael.com/gallants-post-war-gaza-plan-palestinians-to-run-civil-affairs-with-global-task-force/">outlined</a> what seems to be his own plan for Gaza, involving governance by unspecified Palestinian authorities. His plan did not immediately have Israeli cabinet approval and has been <a href="https://thehill.com/opinion/international/4391112-dangerous-ideas-about-the-day-after-in-gaza/">slammed</a> by hard-right ministers.</p> <p>Two of these, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben–Gvir, have <a href="https://www.timesofisrael.com/likud-minister-slams-smotrich-ben-gvirs-unrealistic-call-for-gazan-emigration/#:%7E:text=Ben%20Gvir%20hit%20back%20at,will%20protect%20the%20IDF%20soldiers.%E2%80%9D">called</a> for a solution that encourages the Palestinian population to emigrate and for Israeli settlers to return to the strip. That would be <a href="https://www.france24.com/en/middle-east/20240103-us-condemns-far-right-israeli-ministers-call-for-palestinians-to-emigrate-from-gaza">unacceptable</a> to the Biden administration.</p> <p>Israel’s massive bombing campaign has also slowly turned international opinion against it, as expressed in the UN General Assembly <a href="https://apnews.com/article/un-assembly-israel-palestinians-hamas-vote-resolution-bffc37b2ecc444d906492008cde0aaf6">vote</a> last month in which 153 of the 193 member states called for a ceasefire.</p> <p>Are Netanyahu’s days now numbered? The current issue of The Economist <a href="https://www.economist.com/leaders/2024/01/03/binyamin-netanyahu-is-botching-the-war-time-to-sack-him">features a headline</a> that reads “Binyamin Netanyahu is botching the war. Time to sack him”. Whether or not that’s a fair judgement, it’s clear that internal divisions and indecision within his government are hindering Israel’s prosecution of the war.</p> <h2>Hamas – still standing</h2> <p>The militant group has obviously been hurt. Israel claims to have <a href="https://news.sky.com/story/israel-gaza-latest-hamas-war-sky-news-blog-12978800?postid=6736630">killed or captured</a> between 8,000 and 9,000 of Hamas’ approximately 30,000–strong fighting force – though it has not explained how it calculates militant deaths.</p> <p>Hamas’ main achievement is that it is still standing. To win, the militant group does not have to defeat Israel – it needs merely to survive the IDF onslaught.</p> <p>Hamas can claim some positives. Its attack on October 7 has put the Palestinian issue at the top of the Middle East agenda.</p> <p>Citizens in the Arab states that have signed peace agreements with Israel are clearly angry. And an Israeli-Saudi agreement to normalise relations between the countries, which had been imminent before the conflict, is off the table for now.</p> <p>Opinion polling also <a href="https://apnews.com/article/israel-hamas-palestinians-opinion-poll-wartime-views-a0baade915619cd070b5393844bc4514">shows support</a> for Hamas has risen from 12% to 44% in the West Bank and from 38% to 42% in Gaza in the past three months. If it were possible to hold fair Palestinian elections now, they could produce results Israel and the US would not like.</p> <h2>United States – weakness in dealing with Israel</h2> <p>Biden embraced Netanyahu immediately after the Hamas attack, but US efforts since then to influence Israel’s war plans have not yielded any results.</p> <p>Secretary of State Antony Blinken failed in his effort to persuade Israel to end the war by the start of the new year. His <a href="https://apnews.com/article/us-turkey-israel-greece-gaza-hamas-jordan-36e5e1be205d5200916fd447c8c8e455">current visit</a> to the region is unlikely to yield any major changes.</p> <p>Moreover, divisions in the US may hurt Biden in the lead–up to the presidential election in November. Young, college–educated progressives, who tend to vote Democratic, have taken part in demonstrations against Biden’s public support for Israel’s right to defend itself, if not its way of doing so.</p> <p>These progressives won’t vote for the almost–certain Republican candidate, Donald Trump. But they could stay home on election day, handing the election to Trump.</p> <p>US support for Ukraine has also become a casualty of the war. Republicans, taking their cue from Trump, are prioritising support for Israel and stopping the flow of migrants across the US-Mexico border. They are losing interest in Ukraine – which clearly benefits Russian President Vladimir Putin. Those benefits will be reinforced if Trump wins the presidency again.</p> <h2>United Nations – irrelevant</h2> <p>The UN has also failed in its mission of maintaining world peace. The only Security Council resolution on the war meant nothing, as Russia was pleased to <a href="https://www.politico.com/news/2023/12/22/un-security-council-gaza-aid-00133112">point out</a>.</p> <p>The recent UN General Assembly resolution illustrated Israel’s growing isolation, but has done nothing to change the course of the war. UN Secretary–General Antonio Guterres has been powerless to influence either Israel or Hamas.</p> <h2>Iran – watching for opportunities</h2> <p>The Hezbollah militant group will do a lot of huffing and puffing over the killing of al-Arouri in a Hezbollah-controlled part of Beirut. But it takes its orders from Tehran, which still shows no sign of wanting to become directly involved in the war.</p> <p>That said, Iran appears to have no problem with its proxies – Hezbollah in Lebanon and the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-yemens-houthis-are-getting-involved-in-the-israel-hamas-war-and-how-it-could-disrupt-global-shipping-219220">Houthis in Yemen</a> – providing token support for Hamas through limited rocket, drone and artillery attacks.</p> <p>Iran is likely to be reinforced in this approach by the bombings at the tomb of former Quds Force commander <a href="https://theconversation.com/iran-vows-revenge-for-soleimanis-killing-but-heres-why-it-wont-seek-direct-confrontation-with-the-us-129440">Qassem Soleimani</a> last week, which killed almost 100 Iranians. The bombings have been claimed by the Islamic State, which will likely make Iran more focused on its internal security than on assisting Hamas.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/220644/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ian-parmeter-932739">Ian Parmeter</a>, Research Scholar, Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/after-3-months-of-devastation-in-the-israel-hamas-war-is-anyone-winning-220644">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Woman launches true crime podcast to find her father's killer

<p>21 years ago, Madison McGhee's father was shot in cold blood. </p> <p>Madison was just six years old when her dad, John "JC" Cornelius McGhee, died, and was originally told he had passed away from a heart attack.</p> <p>However, when Madison was in high school, she began to ask questions about what really happened that night. </p> <p>"When I was 16 I had a weird feeling that something else was going on, so I asked my mum about a weird connection between my cousin and the death of my father," Madison told <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/today/ice-cold-case-podcaster-hoping-to-solve-fathers-21-year-murder-mystery/a873da03-0198-4e34-b65c-cc3ced6e8cca" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Today Extra</em></a>.</p> <p>"And that's when my mum told me that there was another side of the story and that my dad had actually been murdered and it was a cold case, completely unsolved."</p> <p>Madison's father, who was a recovering drug addict and police informant, was shot in the head in the early hours of July 11th 2002 at his home in Ohio. </p> <p>His 16-year-old daughter and Madison's half-sister, Alyssa, was home at the time and found her father's body on the ground with a bullet hole in a nearby wall.</p> <p>Police investigated his death, but failed to find any evidence that could convict someone of his murder. </p> <p>After Madison discovered the real nature of her father's death, she began digging into the cold case and decided to try and solve the crime herself. </p> <p>In her efforts to find her father's killer, she launched a podcast called <em>Ice Cold Case</em>. </p> <p>"I started asking questions, diving into it and that's when I realised it was much more layered than even I could have imagined," she said.</p> <p>One line of theory by investigators was that JC's death was a home invasion gone wrong, but Madison said things just don't add up to support that.</p> <p>"When you dive into the police files, it's very clear that this is suspicious," she said.</p> <p>"A home invasion to my knowledge is usually very quick and something of value is stolen, but nothing was taken and this home invasion lasted for over 30 minutes.</p> <p>"It just seemed suspicious that someone would feel so comfortable to break into a house and stick around for that long and not steal anything at all - it feels like it was planned and very intentional."</p> <p>Madison admitted that is has been jarring looking into the death of her father, especially when no one has been held accountable, but she has put her own fears aside in the hopes of finding out what really happened. </p> <p>"I do feel a little uneasy putting myself out there in this very public way, but I just feel like justice for my dad is so much more important than worrying about my own safety if his killer is still out there," she said.</p> <p>"But I really want to find out what happened for him and for my own closure, so I have sort of pushed that to the side."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Today Extra</em></p>

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What exactly is a ceasefire, and why is it so difficult to agree on one in Gaza?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marika-sosnowski-1415833">Marika Sosnowski</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Barely a week after Hamas’ attack on Israeli soldiers and civilians on October 7 and the subsequent airstrikes by the Israeli Defence Force on the Gaza Strip, talk of a ceasefire had already begun.</p> <p>More than five weeks into the war, calls for a ceasefire have only grown louder. Visiting the White House this week, Indonesian President Joko Widodo <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/11/14/indonesian-president-joko-widodo-urges-biden-to-help-end-gaza-atrocities">said</a>, a “ceasefire is a must for the sake of humanity.”</p> <p>Israel has thus far <a href="https://apnews.com/article/israel-hamas-war-news-11-11-2023-d4d272416107c02e63dabd9548395026">refused</a> to discuss a ceasefire without the release of the 240 hostages being held by Hamas.</p> <p>But what exactly is a ceasefire, and how do they work? And what sort of arrangement would be most effective in Gaza?</p> <h2>Different terms, different meanings</h2> <p>Virtually as old as conflict itself, a ceasefire is an ancient way of formalising a halt to armed violence between warring parties for a certain period of time. Historically, the terms truce and armistice were used as synonyms.</p> <p>Perhaps surprisingly, international humanitarian law has <a href="https://www.chathamhouse.org/2023/11/humanitarian-pauses-and-ceasefires-what-are-differences">no provisions</a> relating specifically to when ceasefires should be negotiated, what they need to contain or how they need to be applied.</p> <p>It is only in the last 50 years or so that a range of new terminology has become commonplace to describe the phenomenon of a “<a href="https://beyondintractability.org/essay/cease-fire">ceasefire</a>”. These include:</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://ru.usembassy.gov/joint-statement-russian-federation-united-states-syria/">cessation of hostilities</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news/2017/12/04/un-calls-humanitarian-pause-yemen-conditions-capital-deteriorate">humanitarian pauses</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.peaceagreements.org/viewmasterdocument/2093">de-escalation areas</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://reliefweb.int/report/sudan/un-call-days-tranquility-bears-fruit-more-five-million-children-have-been-vaccinated">days of tranquility</a> (pauses in fighting to allow for immunisation of children)</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/sites/kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/files/Policy_brief_Creating_safe_zones_and_safe_corridors.pdf">safe zones</a> and safe corridors</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://osce.org/stories/osce-mirror-patrols-windows-of-hope-eastern-ukraine">windows of silence</a> (one name given to the 2014 ceasefire in Ukraine).</p> </li> </ul> <p>Many of these terms have been used in the Gaza conflict. For instance, in late October, the UN General Assembly <a href="https://press.un.org/en/2023/ga12548.doc.htm">adopted</a> a resolution calling for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to cessation of hostilities”.</p> <p>In the Security Council, the US has <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-67320520">called</a> for “humanitarian pauses”, but not a “ceasefire”. Russia, meanwhile, has <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/10/1142427">demanded</a> a “humanitarian ceasefire”, but is unhappy with a “truce” or “pauses”.</p> <p>This week, Hamas said it is willing to <a href="https://www.france24.com/en/middle-east/20231113-%F0%9F%94%B4-live-more-gaza-hospitals-halt-operations-as-israeli-assault-continues">release</a> 70 hostages in exchange for a five-day “truce”.</p> <p>Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/nov/04/gaza-ceasefire-talks-ongoing-despite-israeli-pm-rejecting-pause-says-us">rejected</a> a “temporary truce”, but under pressure from the US, has agreed this week to <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2023/11/10/will-israels-humanitarian-pauses-mean-much-for-gaza-no-say-experts">implement</a> daily four-hour “humanitarian pauses”.</p> <p>While there have been <a href="https://ukraine.un.org/en/174777-glossary-humanitarian-terms-pauses-during-conflict">attempts</a> to differentiate between these terms, states continue to place different emphasis or apply different meanings to them in ad hoc ways. This makes finding common ground difficult.</p> <h2>What could be achieved in Gaza instead</h2> <p>So, if we have no common definitions as a starting point, how do parties come to any useful or enforceable agreement on a ceasefire?</p> <p>Thus far in Gaza, the answer has mostly been they don’t. It may be simplistic to say that words are what we use as humans to make sense of and order the world, but in this context, specifics matter.</p> <p>Arguably, in focusing so squarely on getting to a halt in fighting (whatever we want to call that), we lose sight of many other important factors and actions that may or may not fall under the broad and open-to-interpretation umbrella term of “ceasefire”.</p> <p>For example, Israel and Hamas might find agreement if negotiators focused on more specific details or issues, such as:</p> <ul> <li> <p>the amount of ordnance being used by both sides on a daily basis, and what kind of ordnance</p> </li> <li> <p>where or what is targeted by both sides</p> </li> <li> <p>the number of aid convoys allowed into Gaza, where they would come from, where they would go and what they would be carrying</p> </li> <li> <p>the number and/or nationality of hostages to be released and at what regularity.</p> </li> </ul> <p>I am not a negotiator and this is not an exhaustive list. What it hopes to illustrate is that efforts for a grand-bargain-type ceasefire should not be prioritised over more nuanced, and perhaps tangible, efforts for other types of lulls in fighting.</p> <h2>How ceasefires can be problematic</h2> <p>At the same time, it should not be forgotten that ceasefires can have unintended consequences. Often these consequences are far from beneficial, positive or humanitarian – the kinds of things we expect from a ceasefire.</p> <p>For example, in Syria, local <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/06/18/do-ceasefires-syria-work-we-checked-data/">ceasefires</a> and reconciliation agreements have been used during the civil war to allow for the evacuation of citizens from their homes in places like <a href="https://paxforpeace.nl/publications/no-return-to-homs/#:%7E:text=The%2520report%2520'No%2520Return%2520to,cities%2520and%2520neighbourhoods%2520in%2520Syria.">Old Homs</a> and <a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/besiege-bombard-retake-reconciliation-agreements-syria">Daraya</a>.</p> <p>Subsequently, a raft of presidential decrees were enacted that enabled the Syrian regime to permanently reappropriate their properties. State-backed <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/articles/beyond-fragility-syria-and-the-challenges-of-reconstruction-in-fierce-states/">reconstruction</a> and development projects such as Basila City (which ironically means “Peace City” in old Aramaic), Marouta and Homs Dream were then built on the land acquired via the ceasefire agreements.</p> <p>Likewise, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, <a href="https://www.newsweek.com/evacuation-route-offered-fleeing-ukrainians-mined-1685418">humanitarian corridors</a> were implemented that allowed people from the besieged city of Mariupol to evacuate. Shortly afterwards, however, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky <a href="https://www.novinite.com/articles/214156/Zelensky+accused+Russia+of+Mining+Humanitarian+Corridors">accused</a> Russia of laying landmines within the corridors to thwart civilians’ ability to flee.</p> <p>In another example, humanitarian corridors that Russia <a href="https://www.reuters.com/markets/asia/top-wrap-1-ukrainians-trapped-besieged-city-fighting-blocks-evacuation-efforts-2022-03-07/">proposed</a> setting up would not lead civilians to safety, but rather into Russia or its close ally Belarus.</p> <p>Israel has similarly announced “<a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-10-16/israel-announces-another-safe-passage-for-gazans-to-move-south">safe corridors</a>” enabling <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2023/11/10/will-israels-humanitarian-pauses-mean-much-for-gaza-no-say-experts">mass displacement</a> of civilians from the north to the south of the country. The relocation is <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/oct/13/israel-hamas-war-latest-gaza-residents-told-move-ground-assault">supposedly</a> for civilians’ own safety, despite the fact airstrikes are killing civilians there, too. Many also <a href="https://www.newarab.com/news/egypt-israeli-safe-zones-gaza-prelude-displacement">fear</a> the supposed “safe corridors” could lead to a permanent displacement of Gazans.</p> <p>Israel has reportedly also canvassed support for a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/05/world/middleeast/israel-egypt-gaza.html#:%7E:text=Israeli%2520leaders%2520and%2520diplomats%2520have,the%2520border%2520in%2520neighboring%2520Egypt.">humanitarian corridor</a> that would direct Palestinians towards the Sinai peninsula in Egypt, in effect making them an Egyptian problem with little possibility of return. The idea has unsurprisingly been rejected by both the Palestinians and Egypt.</p> <h2>A ceasefire is only the beginning</h2> <p>Despite all this, ceasefires are perhaps the best-formalised tools humans have so far devised to halt the violence of armed conflict for a time.</p> <p>Therefore, given the suffering of civilians on both sides in the Israel-Hamas conflict, it is imperative some form of ceasefire happens. However, we should not be blinded by calls for a ceasefire (whatever terms are used), but stay alert to the hazards that ceasefires can themselves create.</p> <p>In any case, a ceasefire that stops violence for four hours, four days or four months will only be the beginning of the more challenging work that needs to be done to bring meaningful and long-term security and stablity to both Palestinians and Israelis.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/217683/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marika-sosnowski-1415833"><em>Marika Sosnowski</em></a><em>, Postdoctoral research fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-exactly-is-a-ceasefire-and-why-is-it-so-difficult-to-agree-on-one-in-gaza-217683">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Can Israel and Hamas be held to account for alleged crimes against civilians?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amy-maguire-129609">Amy Maguire</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p><a href="https://www.redcross.org.au/ihl/">International humanitarian law</a> – the law of armed conflict – aims to constrain how wars are fought. It is designed to protect noncombatants and limit the means of warfare.</p> <p>As each hour brings news of further horror in the Israel-Hamas conflict, what role should international law be playing? And does it actually have any capacity to constrain the behaviour of the combatants?</p> <h2>A humanitarian nightmare is unfolding</h2> <p>On <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2023/10/16/middleeast/israel-hamas-gaza-war-explained-week-2-mime-intl/index.html">October 7</a>, the Hamas militant group launched thousands of rockets against Israel in advance of a ground attack. Militants <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/International/live-updates/israel-gaza-hamas/?id=103804516#:%7E:text=ABC%20News%20Chief%20Global%20Affairs,war%20in%20Israel%20and%20Gaza.&amp;text=At%20least%201%2C400%20people%20have,7%2C%20Israeli%20authorities%20said.">killed</a> more than 1,400 people and wounded 3,400 others in towns and kibbutzim across southern Israel. It was the <a href="https://theconversation.com/deadliest-day-for-jews-since-the-holocaust-spurs-a-crisis-of-confidence-in-the-idea-of-israel-and-its-possible-renewal-215507">deadliest day</a> for Jewish people since the Holocaust.</p> <p>Most of those killed were civilians, including many <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/International/horror-israeli-authorities-show-footage-hamas-atrocities-reporters-notebook/story?id=104015431#:%7E:text=It%20was%20part%20of%20the,injured%20in%20Israel%2C%20authorities%20said.">children</a> who were shot, blown up or burned to death. Hundreds of young people were also <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/10/08/israel-festival-attack-gaza-militants/">massacred</a> at a music festival, and Hamas took around 200 <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/former-hamas-chief-meshaal-says-israeli-captives-include-high-ranking-officers-2023-10-16/">hostages</a> back to Gaza.</p> <p>Israel is responding to this attack with <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/International/live-updates/israel-gaza-hamas/?id=103804516#:%7E:text=ABC%20News%20Chief%20Global%20Affairs,war%20in%20Israel%20and%20Gaza.&amp;text=At%20least%201%2C400%20people%20have,7%2C%20Israeli%20authorities%20said.">airstrikes</a>, which have to date <a href="https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/israel-hamas-war-gaza-palestinians/card/latest-death-tolls-in-gaza-and-israel-xJRhBt04VQMocRuYUtsA">killed</a> at least 4,000 people in Gaza and injured thousands more. The vast majority of these casualties are Palestinian civilians.</p> <p>Israel has also rapidly mobilised around <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/10/10/israel-military-draft-reservists/">360,000 reservists</a> in preparation for an anticipated ground offensive on Gaza.</p> <p>In recent days, a blast at a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/17/world/middleeast/gaza-hospital-explosion-israel.html">Gaza hospital</a> killed hundreds, including patients and displaced people seeking sanctuary. Hamas and several Arab states have <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/oct/18/israel-faces-blame-from-regional-allies-over-gaza-hospital-deaths">blamed</a> Israel for the explosion, while Israel has <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/17/world/middleeast/islamic-jihad-gaza-hospital-israel.html">blamed</a> Palestinian Islamic Jihad.</p> <p>The situation in Gaza is dire for people with urgent needs, including <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-10-18/israel-gaza-war-live-updates-october-18/102989182?utm_campaign=abc_news_web&amp;utm_content=link&amp;utm_medium=content_shared&amp;utm_source=abc_news_web#live-blog-post-55243">5,000 women</a> due to give birth this month and <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/16/world/middleeast/gaza-evacuation-twin-babies-hospital.html#:%7E:text=The%20babies%2C%20Nuha%20and%20Fatin,of%20an%20Israeli%20ground%20invasion.">newborn babies</a> whose families cannot find drinking water to prepare formula.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Israel has <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/oct/12/no-power-water-or-fuel-to-gaza-until-hostages-freed-says-israeli-minister">cut off</a> water, electricity and fuel supplies to Gaza and ordered a <a href="https://theconversation.com/gaza-is-being-strangled-why-israels-evacuation-order-violates-international-law-215787">total siege</a> of the territory. Israel has also ordered residents of northern Gaza to <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/10/16/why-israels-gaza-evacuation-order-so-alarming">evacuate</a> to the south. Aid agencies have been unable to provide desperately needed <a href="https://time.com/6324539/israel-gaza-humanitarian-aid-egypt-border/">humanitarian assistance</a> to civilians through the border crossing with Egypt.</p> <p>Prior to this latest horrific escalation, Gaza was already entrenched in a <a href="https://theconversation.com/gaza-has-been-blockaded-for-16-years-heres-what-a-complete-siege-and-invasion-could-mean-for-vital-supplies-215359">humanitarian crisis</a>. The situation now is beyond comprehension.</p> <p><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/listen/programs/radionational-breakfast/gaza-610/102983118">Léo Cans</a>, the head of mission for Doctors Without Borders in Palestine, said hospitals are being overwhelmed and hundreds will die without electricity being restored: "This is something that is known and could be prevented just by letting fuel and supplies inside Gaza. What is ahead of us is beyond words […] at the end of the road it’s a big wall, and this big wall is full of dead people."</p> <h2>Principles governing the conduct of war</h2> <p>International humanitarian law is a pragmatic body of law. Its existence acknowledges the inevitability of armed conflict and it aims to mitigate war’s impact on people.</p> <p>International humanitarian law is not, in itself, concerned with the justifications for why combatants engage in war. It applies even in situations where a state is entitled to act in self-defence under broader international law.</p> <p>We are witnessing gross violations of fundamental humanitarian law principles in the conflict. Here are some examples:</p> <p><strong>Distinction between civilians and combatants</strong></p> <p>Attacks are considered <a href="https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/en/ihl-treaties/api-1977/article-51">unlawful</a> if they are:</p> <ul> <li> <p>directed specifically against civilians</p> </li> <li> <p>launched indiscriminately without distinction between civilians and combatants</p> </li> <li> <p>or directed at military targets but anticipated to cause harm to civilians disproportionate to the military advantage being sought.</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>Methods of warfare</strong></p> <p>It is <a href="https://casebook.icrc.org/law/conduct-hostilities#iii_1">unlawful</a> to conduct war in a manner that causes unnecessary suffering. Attacks targeting civilians are fundamentally unnecessary and, therefore, illegal.</p> <p><strong>Collective punishment</strong></p> <p>The fourth Geneva Convention prohibits <a href="https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/en/ihl-treaties/gciv-1949/article-33">collective punishment</a>: "No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited."</p> <p>This prohibition reflects the idea of <a href="https://guide-humanitarian-law.org/content/article/3/collective-punishment/">individual criminal responsibility</a> under international criminal law. Prosecutions for breaches of humanitarian law are directed towards individuals who can be proven responsible, rather than against states or populations.</p> <p><strong>Humanitarian protection</strong></p> <p>Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions requires <a href="https://www.icrc.org/en/doc/war-and-law/treaties-customary-law/geneva-conventions/overview-geneva-conventions.htm">humane protection</a> for all people in enemy hands. It prohibits murder and hostage-taking. It also requires the provision of humanitarian assistance to all people without distinction.</p> <p><strong>Obligations of occupying powers</strong></p> <p>It is arguable Israel is a de facto occupying power of the Gaza Strip because it has such a <a href="https://theconversation.com/gaza-is-being-strangled-why-israels-evacuation-order-violates-international-law-215787">high level of control</a> over people’s lives. For example, it has the ability to shut off supplies of essential life services. The argument Israel is occupying Gaza will be strengthened should Israel launch a ground invasion.</p> <p>As such, the rules of international humanitarian law on occupiers are also relevant. These include an obligation to <a href="https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/en/ihl-treaties/hague-conv-iv-1907/regulations-art-43#:%7E:text=Regulations%3A%20Art.-,43,in%20force%20in%20the%20country.">protect</a> civilians from attacks and <a href="https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/commission-general/international-covenant-civil-and-political-rights-human-rights-your#:%7E:text=opinions%20without%20interference.-,2.,other%20media%20of%20his%20choice.">respect their human rights</a>.</p> <h2>Hamas and humanitarian law</h2> <p>International humanitarian law applies to all combatants, whether they are state or non-state actors. UN independent experts say Hamas has clearly committed <a href="https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2023/10/israeloccupied-palestinian-territory-un-experts-deplore-attacks-civilians">war crimes</a>, including the murders and hostage-taking of Israeli civilians.</p> <p>Hamas also put Palestinian civilians in harm’s way by <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/hamas-tells-gaza-residents-stay-home-israel-ground-offensive-looms-2023-10-13/#:%7E:text=Eyad%20Al%2DBozom%2C%20spokesman%20for,your%20homes%2C%20and%20your%20places.">telling them</a> not to evacuate to southern Gaza, as ordered by Israel. The group has a history of using civilians as <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-the-laws-of-war-apply-to-the-conflict-between-israel-and-hamas-215493">human shields</a> as a <a href="https://stratcomcoe.org/cuploads/pfiles/hamas_human_shields.pdf">strategic tool</a> in conflicts with Israel.</p> <p>However, holding Hamas accountable for violating international humanitarian law is very challenging. As a non-state actor, Hamas is not a member of forums like the United Nations, where pressure may be brought to bear on member states.</p> <p>If individual Hamas militants are apprehended, they could be charged with <a href="https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/interview/2023/10/17/how-have-israel-and-hamas-broken-laws-war">war crimes</a> and tried in Israeli courts or the International Criminal Court. Even though Hamas is a non-state actor, <a href="https://www.icc-cpi.int/victims/state-palestine">Palestine</a> has accepted the court’s jurisdiction.</p> <p>In fact, the International Criminal Court opened an <a href="https://www.lawfaremedia.org/article/where-does-the-icc-palestine-investigation-stand">investigation</a> into alleged war crimes in Palestine in 2021. The current Gaza conflict would fall within the court’s mandate and could lead it to direct greater energy to that ongoing investigation.</p> <p>The court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, said on October 13: "We have jurisdiction for any Rome Statute crimes […] committed by Palestinians in Israel and also we have clear jurisdiction for any crimes committed by the forces of Israel in Palestine."</p> <h2>Israel and humanitarian law</h2> <p>Israel and its allies also have a complex relationship with international humanitarian law.</p> <p>One key issue is Israel’s right to self-defence in response to the October 7 attack by Hamas. International law confirms a state may use force to <a href="https://casebook.icrc.org/a_to_z/glossary/self-defence#:%7E:text=Self%2Ddefense%20in%20international%20law,Charter%20and%20customary%20international%20law.">defend</a> itself in response to an armed attack. Israel, the United States and other allies <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2023/10/10/remarks-by-president-biden-on-the-terrorist-attacks-in-israel-2/">contend</a> the Hamas attack triggered Israel’s <a href="https://www.foreignminister.gov.au/minister/penny-wong/speech/speech-senate-hamas-attacks-israel-senate-motion-parliament-house">right to self-defence</a>.</p> <p>But there is a distinction to be drawn between a state’s right to self-defence and what that right permits, in the sense of how war is conducted.</p> <p>For example, UN independent experts have <a href="https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2023/10/israeloccupied-palestinian-territory-un-experts-deplore-attacks-civilians">condemned</a> Israel’s “indiscriminate military attacks” against Palestinian civilians: "This amounts to collective punishment. There is no justification for violence that indiscriminately targets innocent civilians, whether by Hamas or Israeli forces. This is absolutely prohibited under international law and amounts to a war crime."</p> <p>Neither <a href="https://arabcenterdc.org/resource/the-international-criminal-courts-failure-to-hold-israel-accountable/">Israel</a> nor the <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/09/02/qa-international-criminal-court-and-united-states">United States</a> is a party to the International Criminal Court. Neither state would accept the court’s jurisdiction over its nationals. Indeed, the United States has <a href="https://www.state.gov/the-united-states-opposes-the-icc-investigation-into-the-palestinian-situation/">condemned</a> the court’s decision to open its investigation into alleged war crimes in Palestine.</p> <p>In time, the court may seek to hold Israeli nationals accountable for war crimes, but its capacity to do so seems very limited.</p> <h2>What about the United Nations?</h2> <p>UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has <a href="https://www.voanews.com/a/un-s-guterres-denounces-collective-punishment-of-palestinians/7315616.html">called</a> for an immediate ceasefire.</p> <p>He said the grievances of the Palestinian people after more than 50 years of occupation do not “justify the acts of terror committed by Hamas”. And he said the Hamas attack on October 7 does not “justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people”.</p> <p>UN human rights chief Volker Türk has also <a href="https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/un-human-rights-lead-warns-of-consequences-for-breaching-humanitarian-law-amid-israel-hamas-war-1.6605453">warned</a> all parties that violations of humanitarian law will have consequences, and those who commit war crimes will be held accountable.</p> <p>But the <a href="https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/#:%7E:text=The%20Security%20Council%20has%20primary,to%20comply%20with%20Council%20decisions.">UN Security Council</a>, which is charged with maintaining international peace and security, has yet to agree on a <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/10/1142467">statement</a> on the conflict.</p> <p>The <a href="https://reliefweb.int/report/occupied-palestinian-territory/4-members-favour-5-against-security-council-rejects-russian-federations-resolution-calling-immediate-humanitarian-ceasefire-israel-palestine-crisis">debate</a> in the council since the latest escalation in this perpetual conflict demonstrates the deep diplomatic fault lines between the key global players and the warring parties.</p> <p>At this point, a sad reality is that international law and global institutions can do little to constrain the actions of the combatants on both sides or provide assistance to the millions at grave risk of harm.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/215705/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amy-maguire-129609"><em>Amy Maguire</em></a><em>, Associate Professor in Human Rights and International Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/can-israel-and-hamas-be-held-to-account-for-alleged-crimes-against-civilians-215705">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Boomer calls out young Aussie's "war on oldies"

<p>A baby boomer has called out Australia's "war on oldies", as millennials have a "growing resentment" to the older generation. </p> <p>Former political reporter David Jones wrote that millennials are making boomers “feel they’re a looming burden” on the country in an opinion piece for <em>The Daily Telegraph</em>, saying they have "drawn the battle lines" in an intergenerational war.</p> <p>Jones, the self-proclaimed boomer, wrote, “Make no mistake, there is a ‘war on oldies’ happening in Australia, with growing resentment directed at the nation’s ageing baby boomer population.”</p> <p>“It is happening in subtle and not-so-subtle ways but the underlying message is the same."</p> <p>“Baby boomers, you’ve had it too good for too long and now that you’ve reached your dotage, it is time to pay for your’ sins’ of affluence – and hard work.”</p> <p>Jones went on to argue that millennials' anger at the older generations is misplaced, especially when they had “actually contributed a lot” to building modern Australia.</p> <p>“Are baby boomers really as bad as people think? No we’re not,” he continued.</p> <p>He wrote that boomers were Australia's "finest generation", and had grown up appreciating the struggles of their childhoods as their parents endured the Great Depression and two world wars. </p> <p>Jones admits his generation was “born into the halcyon days of full employment and a seemingly endless economic boom” when recruitment was easy.</p> <p>Employers “recruited us on the quadrangles of Sydney’s high schools”, Jones said.</p> <p>“The lingering insinuation is that the ‘boomers’ are too self-satisfied and electorally powerful for their own good."</p> <p>“They own too many properties, they’ve occupied too many rungs on the career ladder, they don’t have mortgages and looking after them in their old age will be a burden on the state and the generation to come.”</p> <p>Jones concedes that millennials have “good reason to be resentful about a number of things” – from the cost of living and housing crisis, sky-high interest rates, even stagnant career opportunities – “but the blame doesn’t rest at the feet of baby boomers”, he said.</p> <p>Instead, he said the anger belongs on the shoulders of politicians for making “dumb decisions” in government.</p> <p>“In defence of baby boomers, we shouldn’t be held responsible for the catastrophic failure of all levels of government to allow home housing in sufficient numbers to satisfy demand for purchase and for rent."</p> <p>“We didn’t … feel comfortable about the orgy of government spending and borrowing during Covid that put Australia on the road to high inflation and economy crippling interest rate hikes."</p> <p>“Nor did we have a choice about getting older.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Retirement Life

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"You've been bumped": Vietnam vet slams Qantas for booting him from business class

<p dir="ltr">Qantas has come under fire for booting a Vietnam war veteran from his paid seat in business class so that a young Qantas "tech" – later revealed to be a pilot – could travel in the luxury seat in his place.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stephen Jones, 78, and his wife were travelling home to Adelaide after a holiday in Christchurch. Their flight was passing through Melbourne on its way to their home in Adelaide, and the pair were enjoying coffee in the Melbourne airport lounge – just 30 minutes before they were set to continue their journey – when they were given the bad news by Qantas staff.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I went up to the desk and the Qantas employee there said, 'I've got some bad news for you, you've been bumped'," Mr Jones told Melbourne’s <em><a href="https://www.3aw.com.au/vietnam-war-veteran-booted-from-business-class-for-younger-qantas-employee/">3AW</a></em> radio program with Ross & Russ. </p> <p dir="ltr">"It didn't register at first," continued Mr Jones. "I wasn't quite sure what 'bumped' meant... I said, 'What?', and she said, 'Yes, I'll have to re-issue your ticket for economy class. We have a tech who's flying to Adelaide and his contract states that he must fly Business Class."</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones then explained that while he retreated to his economy seat, the Qantas employee was seated next to his wife up in business class, and that "he wouldn't even look at her".</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones went on to explain that, after filing a letter of complaint, he was offered 5000 Frequent Flyer points in return for the downgrade and an apology.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones, who served in Vietnam in a combat unit in the 1960s, claimed he turned down the offer of 5000 points, saying, “I don’t think anything is going to change until there’s ramifications for Qantas, or costs for Qantas when they upset their customers.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Justin Lawrence, Partner at Henderson Ball Lawyers, later told the 3AW radio show hosts that there’s little customers can do about such a move by the airline and said it was “standard operating procedure”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Unfortunately, their terms of carriage allow them to do this sort of thing – this happens so often they’ve actually got a term for it, buckle up, they call this 'involuntary downgrading,'” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They’ll overprescribe business class or first class, they will need to bump someone out, and they’ll do it almost immediately prior to the flight – not just Qantas, they all do it."</p> <p dir="ltr">“Any time you go to a travel agent or online to Qantas to buy a seat, and we think we’re buying a seat in a particular class, there are no guarantees that when that plane takes off, you’ll be sitting in that class.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones said he understood that Qantas pilots were entitled to rest comfortably on their way to another flight, but the ordeal was “unsettling and made me a little irritable”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Lucy Letby: it is not being ‘beige’, ‘average’ or ‘normal’ that makes her crimes so hard to understand

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lizzie-seal-183829">Lizzie Seal</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sussex-1218">University of Sussex</a></em></p> <p>In seeking to understand the crimes of Lucy Letby, the neonatal nurse who murdered seven babies in her care, a fixation about how “ordinary” she appears to be has emerged. At times like this, we seek answers, which perhaps explains the vague sense that understanding this apparent inconsistency can teach us a lesson for the future. But that is a circle that cannot be squared.</p> <p>Letby was sentenced to whole life imprisonment for the murders of seven babies carried out while she worked at Countess of Chester Hospital, in north-west England. She was found guilty of the attempted murder of six other babies and is suspected of having harmed more. She is variously described as a “serial killer” and a “serial killer nurse”. Letby meets the <a href="https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/tandi/tandi346">generally accepted criminological definition</a> of a serial killer – that is, someone who commits three or more murders on separate occasions which are not for revenge or material gain.</p> <p>Everyday understandings of serial killing are consistent with the criminological definition and, arguably, the “serial killer” is a compelling example of the overlap – and perhaps cross-pollination – between the academic and wider understandings of crime.</p> <p>Both academic and wider understandings of serial killing are shaped by portrayals and archetypes from fiction, film, television and true crime podcasts and documentaries. The ubiquity of portrayals of serial killers mean we reach for certain stock explanations of their actions.</p> <p>Quoting police officers involved in the investigation and former colleagues of Letby, news articles describe her as <a href="https://news.sky.com/story/who-is-lucy-letby-the-average-nurse-who-became-britains-most-prolific-child-killer-12943602">“average”</a> and <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/23003681/beige-lucy-letby-killer-nurse-death-toll/">“beige”</a>. Shock and confusion abound about the crimes of an “ordinary” young woman who did not stand out in terms of character or ability.</p> <p>The puzzle these descriptions create is how a “serial killer nurse” could possibly be someone so unremarkable. Letby lived in a three-bedroom semi-detached house, with a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/aug/18/lucy-letby-the-beige-and-average-nurse-who-turned-into-a-baby-killer">“happy Prosecco season”</a> sign adorning the wall of her kitchen and a collection of soft toys in her bedroom. Although <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/nurse-lucy-letby-motive-why-would-she-kill-babies-b2397008.html">motives were suggested</a> by the prosecution during her trial, they feel unsatisfactory.</p> <h2>Looking for answers in the wrong place</h2> <p>Our inability to parse “satisfying” explanations for Letby’s actions relates to her departure from accepted cultural scripts of serial killing. A prominent serial killer script is that of perceived deviance and transgression, whereby something pathological about the killer accounts for their personality and actions.</p> <p>Frequently, this pathology is along the lines of mental illness, as in one of the classic templates for modern cultural scripts of serial killing, Norman Bates in the film Psycho. Another recurrent portrayal is the serial killer who is motivated by sexual perversion. Lucy Letby’s apparent normality means she cannot be read through this script.</p> <p>The fact that <a href="https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-87488-9">she is a woman</a> while serial killers are overwhelmingly male adds to this (although serial killing by women, including nurses, is <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12423909/Other-cases-missed-Detective-nailed-Beverley-Allitt-says-like-Lucy-Letby-read-book-chillingly-similar-Angel-Death-case-30-years-believes-killer-nurses-have.html">not without precedent</a>).</p> <p><a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1057/9780230369061_6">Popular culture has taught us</a> that a serial killer is a certain type of person. They are often even glamorised in films and TV shows. In his <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/36061">1996 memoir My Dark Places</a>, the novelist James Ellroy comments on the figure of the serial killer in 1990s popular culture: “serial killers were very unprosaic. They were hip, slick and cool”.</p> <p>Ellroy’s comment gets to the heart of why Lucy Letby feels like a dissonant serial killer. She is prosaic. But this is a red herring. We may have absorbed tropes about serial killers but that does not mean we understand them or their motives in any more depth than we understand why Letby killed.</p> <p>There is nothing truly conclusive about saying someone killed for power or sexual gratification, just as there is nothing conclusive about any of the explanations offered for Letby’s actions. Our belief that we understand reasons for serial killing – and thereby deviations from those reasons such as appearing “ordinary” – is based on familiar but incomplete narratives.</p> <p>Our cultural scripts about serial killers do not offer good explanations for their crimes. In reality, it is incredibly unusual for someone like Lucy Letby to be a serial killer because it is incredibly unusual for anyone to be a serial killer.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/211960/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lizzie-seal-183829">Lizzie Seal</a>, Professor of Criminology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sussex-1218">University of Sussex</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/lucy-letby-it-is-not-being-beige-average-or-normal-that-makes-her-crimes-so-hard-to-understand-211960">original article</a>.</em></p>

Legal

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“Enough is enough”: Karl's crime wave plea after family targeted

<p>A number of Aussies are resorting to hiring their own private security to watch over their properties while they sleep as the country faces a major crime wave.</p> <p>Within 24 hours, a teenager was stabbed to death in Melbourne’s northwest and three young offenders have been charged over Facebook Marketplace robberies in Queensland.</p> <p>As the crime problem continues to worsen, <em>Today</em> co-host Karl Stefanovic revealed his own family have been targeted.</p> <p>“Enough is enough,” he demanded.</p> <p>"This has happened to me, it's happened to my family, I've had kids come to my house, doing things and I've got them on tape," a disgruntled Stefanovic continued.</p> <p>"It is only relatively minor offences, but if it is getting to that level for me, it is getting to that level across the country - we keep having to talk about it, keeping saying we've got to do something about it and nothing happens.”</p> <p>Stefanovic also emphasised the colossal impact these targeted attacks have on families, regardless of whether it’s a home invasion, car theft or robbery on the street.</p> <p>“Whenever the crime comes to their doorstep, whenever someone breaks into their car, whenever something happens that's close to home, it has a tremendous psychological impact,” he said.</p> <p>He agreed with authorities discouraging vigilante activities as a solution, however, noted that the problem is only getting worse.</p> <p>"That's my big concern, that's the big concern for a lot of authorities in various states," he said.</p> <p>"I don't understand how authorities can't see how significant an impact this is having on the day-to-day life of people, law-abiding citizens at home.</p> <p>"It's not stopping and that's the problem."</p> <p><em>Image credit: 9News / Today</em></p>

Legal

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"We cannot judge": Nat Barr's frank question on war crimes for Army veteran

<p>Sunrise host Natalie Barr surprised viewers when she confronted a war veteran after he referred senior Australian Defence Force leaders to the International Criminal Court over alleged war crimes committed in Afghanistan.</p> <p>Glenn Kolomeitz, a military lawyer and army veteran, signed the referral alongside Senator Jacqui Lambie.</p> <p>The referral to The Hague had the criminal court examine the country’s high commanders “through the lens of command responsibility”.</p> <p>Kolomeitz and Lambie claimed senior commanders have avoided investigation over alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.</p> <p>“I've got to ask you. This is a question I get asked every time we discuss this general issue,” she said.</p> <p>“We trained these people to kill, and we trained them to operate in a war setting. None of us as civilians have any idea what that's like and we cannot judge them for when they go over there to war. What do you say to that?”</p> <p>Kolomeitz insisted that defence force personnel, regardless of rank, must be investigated if they’ve committed or covered up a criminal act.</p> <p>“I worked with these guys on a couple of rotations, and quite frankly, they are amazing advocates for our country, but if they've done the wrong thing, they must be properly investigated, and they must be vigorously prosecuted. That's the reality,” he said.</p> <p>“You can't ignore the commanders. You vigorously investigate and prosecute those who have done the wrong thing, including those with command responsibility.”</p> <p>The TV presenter then asked if an investigation was necessary for the chief of the defence force, Angus Campbell.</p> <p>Kolomeitz replied, “Every joint task force 633 commanders in that job during the period of the enquiry.”</p> <p>The army veteran drafted the letter that would be sent to the International Criminal Court.</p> <p>“If Australia does nothing about it, the ICC can potentially assume jurisdiction over the higher command and excise the higher command investigation from the ongoing investigation of junior soldiers,” he said.</p> <p>The 2020 Brereton report found “credible” evidence that 25 current or former Australian SAS soldiers unlawfully killed 39 Afghan civilians and prisoners between 2005 and 2016.</p> <p>The report strongly recommended administrative action be taken against ADF personnel where there is credible evidence of misconduct, but not enough for a criminal conviction.</p> <p>It ruled that senior commanders were not criminally to blame for the alleged crimes.</p> <p>Senator Lambie noted leadership had not been held to account for their actions.</p> <p>“The government is no doubt hoping this will all just go away,” she told the Senate.</p> <p>“They're hoping Australians will forget that when alleged war crimes in Afghanistan were investigated, our senior commanders got a free pass while our diggers were thrown under the bus.</p> <p>"Well, we don't forget. I won't forget. Lest we forget.</p> <p>“There is a culture of cover-up at the highest levels of the Australian Defence Force. It is the ultimate boys' club.”</p> <p>Image credit: Instagram/LinkedIn</p>

TV

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Plane “crime” reignites long standing debate

<p dir="ltr">A travel influencer has reignited the age-old debate over what personal items truly belong in a plane’s overhead lockers, after they called out passengers for filling the compartments with their jackets. </p> <p dir="ltr">Snapping a photo on the on-board “crime”, online observers were quick to chime in with their thoughts on the matter. </p> <p dir="ltr">Given the online discourse around the controversial jacket storage, a poll conducted by nine.com.au found that most people agreed that there was nothing wrong with the action. </p> <p dir="ltr">While most people agreed that filling up the lockers with jackets is a frustrating move, an overwhelming 90% agreed that it was fine to do. </p> <p dir="ltr">"I thought that was exactly what an overhead locker was for???" one reader commented.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, according to globetrotters Matt and Hillary, who posted the original video on TikTok, doing so is a "crime".</p> <p dir="ltr">"If you plan to fly in 2023, please don't be the people who fill up an entire overhead cabinet with your jackets. It's an absolute waste of space. They could sit on your lap or most airlines have hooks."</p> <p dir="ltr">Instead, a more common gripe for travellers, according to the online poll, was the size of some people's 'carry on' luggage.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I think it's time the airlines stamped out some of the sizes of cases that get taken on as hand luggage," one person said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Jackets and small bags should be the only items in the overhead locker. Too many people bring way too much carry-on luggage and take up the space of others, I might add this is my pet peeve when flying anywhere," another agreed.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It amazes me that folks get on aeroplanes with suitcases or sacks they expect to squeeze into the overhead lockers without any thought or consideration for their fellow travellers," was another frustrated reply.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

Travel Tips

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No apologies: Ben Roberts-Smith breaks silence

<p>Former SAS soldier Ben Roberts-Smith has returned to Australia for the first time since losing his defamation case against Nine newspapers.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith touched down in Perth on June 14 and said he was shattered by the outcome of his defamation case against The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times.</p> <p>This is the first time he has spoken out publicly since the landmark ruling.</p> <p>"It was a terrible result and obviously the incorrect result. We will look at it and consider whether or not we need to file an appeal," Roberts-Smith said after landing in Perth.</p> <p>"There is not much more I can say about it ... we just have to work through it and I'll take the advice as it comes.”</p> <p>He was spotted checking into business class with his girlfriend in Queenstown, New Zealand prior to touching down in Perth.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith rules out apologising to families of the victims impacted by his actions in Afghanistan.</p> <p>"We haven't done anything wrong, so we won't be making any apologies," he said.</p> <p>As he was collecting his luggage at Perth airport, he was approached by a man who voiced his support for the former soldier.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith's return comes on the same day as reports that an Australian Federal Police investigation into his alleged war crimes had collapsed.</p> <p>The decision by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions not to prosecute Roberts-Smith based on evidence collected by the AFP has led to a new joint task force being assembled to investigate alleged executions.</p> <p>The task force is comprised of detectives from the specialist war crimes agency, the Office of the Special Investigator and a new team of federal police investigators not related to the abandoned AFP probe.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith did not appear in the Federal Court when a judge found allegations he murdered or was complicit in the killing of four unarmed Afghans while deployed overseas were "substantially true” in a bombshell defamation ruling.</p> <p>The former soldier insists there was never any foul play.</p> <p><em>Image credit: A Current Affair</em></p>

News

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Controversial call on Ben Roberts-Smith

<p>Following the dismissal of Ben Roberts-Smith's defamation trial, politicians and defence experts argue that his belongings should remain in the Australian War Memorial until he is criminally proven guilty.</p> <p>The civil case saw Australia’s most decorated living soldier lose out to <em>Nine</em> newspapers due to claims he had committed war crimes, including a murder while deployed in Afghanistan.</p> <p>Amid the findings, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/australian-war-memorial-urged-to-remove-ben-roberts-smith-s-uniform-from-display" target="_blank" rel="noopener">many have urged</a> Roberts-Smith should be stripped of his medals, including the Victoria Cross, and to have any mention of him removed from the Australian War Memorial.</p> <p>However, Liberal MP and former soldier Keith Wolahan argued that Roberts-Smith should still be featured in the memorial’s commemorations of the war in Afghanistan.</p> <p>He told <em>ACB TVs Q+A</em> program, “It’s a part of our history, but I think it should acknowledge the Brereton report and perhaps this defamation trial,”</p> <p>The Brereton report is the official inquiry by the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force that found a culture of unlawful killings, horrid initiation rituals as well as cover-ups within the Australian military during his time in Afghanistan.</p> <p>Wolahan said it may not be necessary to include references to the defamation trial until criminal investigations are finalised, saying that politicians should “stay out of criminal proceedings”.</p> <p>“Ben Roberts-Smith still has a right to appeal and there’s a question about whether there’s a criminal charge,” Wolahan said.</p> <p>“He’s entitled to the presumption of innocence and due process, but I think the Brereton report belongs in the War Memorial.”</p> <p>Wolahan is a three-tour veteran of Afghanistan and served as an operations officer, platoon commander and deputy chief of operations.</p> <p>The former captain added that the Australian Army “have to hold ourselves to a higher standard”.</p> <p>“When you look at the Brereton report, you cannot ignore it. Yes, it’s not at the criminal standard and that defamation trial was not at the criminal standard, but you cannot ignore the findings,” he said.</p> <p>The <em>Q+A</em> panel discussed the culture within the armed forces of the West, with war correspondent Michael Ware noting that soldiers must go to a “very dark place” to face war.</p> <p>“It says we’ve all participated in small war crimes, I know I’ve certainly seen my share of them,” he said.</p> <p>“And according to the laws of war, and I have to tell you, this is a harsh reality – we in the West – we kill children.</p> <p>“If an eight-year-old is placing a roadside bomb, a sniper can legally shoot that child.”</p> <p>He then argued that despite that, there is an even worse cultural issue within the Australian Army.</p> <p>“All that said, there is a line you don’t cross, you've got to have a moral compass ... it does appear to me that there was a culture that developed over a period of years within the regiment where this just became a part of the way they operated and Ben Roberts-Smith is not alone.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty / Instagram</em></p>

Legal

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What should the Australian War Memorial do with its heroic portraits of Ben Roberts-Smith?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kit-messham-muir-129956">Kit Messham-Muir</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p>On Friday, the <a href="https://theconversation.com/dismissed-legal-experts-explain-the-judgment-in-the-ben-roberts-smith-defamation-case-191503">Federal Court dismissed</a> Ben Roberts-Smith’s defamation case against The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times.</p> <p>Justice Anthony Besanko ruled the newspapers had established, by the “balance of probabilities” (the standard of evidence in a civil lawsuit), that Roberts-Smith had committed war crimes.</p> <p>Following the ruling, much public debate has focused on what the Australian War Memorial should do with Robert-Smith’s uniform, helmet and other artefacts of his on display.</p> <p>Greens senator David Shoebridge <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidShoebridge/status/1664140665666826240">called for</a> the removal of these objects from public display to correct the official record and “to begin telling the entire truth of Australia’s involvement in that brutal war.”</p> <p>The topic of what to do with Roberts-Smith’s uniform and helmet was debated on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sH1oVNVJP1k">ABC’s Insiders yesterday</a>: should the display be removed, effectively cancelled, or changed to tell the full story?</p> <h2>The case of the oil paintings</h2> <p>It is not just these artefacts on display. The memorial also has two heroic oil painting portraits of Roberts-Smith by one of Australia’s leading artists, <a href="http://www.michaelzavros.com/">Michael Zavros</a>.</p> <p>These paintings were commissioned by the memorial in 2014.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=448&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=448&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=448&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=563&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=563&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=563&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Michael Zavros, Pistol grip (Ben Roberts-Smith VC), 2014, oil on canvas, 162 cm x 222 cm.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2092390">© Australian War Memorial</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/">CC BY-NC</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p><a href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2092390">Pistol Grip (Ben Roberts-Smith VC)</a> is a larger-than-life-sized depiction of Roberts-Smith, camouflage arms outstretched, mimicking the action of holding a pistol.</p> <p>The smaller <a href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2092391">Ben Roberts-Smith VC</a> depicts him in ceremonial military uniform.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=442&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=442&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=442&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=555&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=555&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=555&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Michael Zavros, Ben Roberts-Smith VC, 2014, oil on canvas, 30 x 42 cm.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2092391">© Australian War Memorial</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/">CC BY-NC</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>In an <a href="https://memoreview.net/reviews/the-anti-art-of-war-by-rex-butler-and-paris-lettau">article in arts criticism website Memo</a> yesterday, respected Monash University art historian Rex Butler and arts journalist Paris Lettau weighed into the debate.</p> <p>Butler and Lettau say Pistol Grip is:</p> <blockquote> <p>threatening, over-bearing, macho, hyper-masculine, celebratory, and enormous, like the man himself – some 220 centimetres wide and 160 centimetres high.</p> </blockquote> <p>When Zavros created his large portrait it was a depiction of a soldier doing what he was trained – and venerated – for doing.</p> <p>It is an aggressive pose that, given current developments, can be read in a much more sinister way. It touches on a far bigger question of how national institutions for the public memory of war address difficult and morally ambiguous moments in a national story.</p> <h2>Moral and ethical ambiguity</h2> <p>When the Canadian War Museum opened at its new site in Ottawa in 2005, its new displays included two paintings in their collection by Canadian artist <a href="https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-in-her-powerful-portraiture-military-artist-gertrude-kearns-pays/">Gertrude Kearns</a>.</p> <p>The paintings, Somalia without Conscience, 1996, and The Dilemma of Kyle Brown: Paradox in the Beyond, 1995, dealt with one of the most shameful episodes in Canada’s military history, known as the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somalia_affair">Somalia Affair</a>.</p> <p>In 1992, the Canadian Airborne Regiment was deployed as peacekeepers to Somalia. In 1993, 16-year-old Shidane Arone was found hiding in the Canadian base, believed to have been stealing supplies. He was tortured, and soldiers photographed themselves with the semi-conscious boy. Master Corporal Clayton Matchee and his subordinate Private Kyle Brown <a href="https://www.vice.com/en/article/7x75xg/remembering-the-somalia-affair-canadas-forgotten-abu-ghraib-moment">were charged</a> with his murder and torture.</p> <p>Somalia without Conscience depicts Matchee posing with the beaten Arone, while The Dilemma of Kyle Brown depicts Brown symbolically holding two potential fates in his hands: a lightly coloured cube in his right hand, and a darkened cube in his left. It addresses an ethical grey area many soldiers face during active service when the hierarchy of command comes into direct conflict with conscience.</p> <p>Following the opening of the new Canadian War Museum, the presence of Kearns’s paintings sparked <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books?id=nltxDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT519&lpg=PT519&dq=%E2%80%9Cwas+not+only+telling+the+stories+of+heroism+and+courage+that+most+of+them+expected+to+be+told+but+also+stories+about+failures,+disappointments,+and+human+frailty%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=sfQZw_2qXL&sig=ACfU3U18i4X0ERdbg0wfOKXbnOIe1-5-pA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjXw6Sdk6v_AhXGVmwGHbRwDh0Q6AF6BAgJEAM#v=onepage&q=%E2%80%9Cwas%20not%20only%20telling%20the%20stories%20of%20heroism%20and%20courage%20that%20most%20of%20them%20expected%20to%20be%20told%20but%20also%20stories%20about%20failures%2C%20disappointments%2C%20and%20human%20frailty%E2%80%9D&f=false">intense debate</a>. Curator Laura Brandon received abusive emails from members of the public.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=399&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=399&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=399&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=501&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=501&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=501&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>The museum copped criticism from figures such as the head of the National Council of Veterans Associations, who <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/war-museum-s-paintings-anger-veterans-group-1.546113">called</a> the paintings a “trashy, insulting tribute” and urged a boycott of the opening of the new museum.</p> <p>Discussing this controversy in 2007, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1354856507072860?journalCode=cona">Brandon said</a> what upset veteran communities was that “their” museum:</p> <blockquote> <p>was not only telling the stories of heroism and courage that most of them expected to be told but also stories about failures, disappointments, and human frailty.</p> </blockquote> <p>Brandon remained steadfast the museum needed to address the messy ambiguities of war and, despite pressure, kept Kearns’s paintings on display for the duration of the exhibition.</p> <h2>The complexity of contemporary art</h2> <p>Brandon’s curatorial decision to display Kearns’s Somalia paintings strike at the heart of what is special and important about contemporary war art in a national museum.</p> <p>Contemporary art presents ethical and moral complexity, grey zones and a range of perspectives. This is vital in a healthy liberal democracy.</p> <p>While Brandon’s choice to show Kearns’s Somalia paintings attracted criticism, the museum remained committed to telling a story that is difficult, ethically and morally complex, and uncomfortable for Canadians.</p> <p>To remove Zavros’ portraits from display would remove the now-untenable hero narrative that once surrounded Roberts-Smith. But doing so would also rewrite public memory by effectively erasing an important part of why and how Roberts-Smith was revered.</p> <p>These portraits now represent a morally complex story that needs to be addressed by our national war museum.</p> <p>To remove the portraits would miss a valuable opportunity to debate important questions about how we construct hero stories.</p> <p>So, how could these portraits still be shown in future?</p> <p>Zavros’ portraits were already complex works.</p> <p>Following Friday’s announcement, it is more important they are seen in all their additional multi-layered and problematic complexity.</p> <p>The portraits show us how we create the nation through the stories we tell ourselves, and how dynamic that narrative can be. The portraits present a valuable opportunity to show narratives of war – like the stories of our own lives – are never simple, consistent and coherent.</p> <p>The portraits should be displayed in ways that address this complexity, capturing the evolving story of Roberts-Smith in explanatory wall text. There is an opportunity here to not simply “correct” the official record, as Shoebridge suggests, but to have a deeper conversation about the role of hero narratives in diverting attention away from more important public debates about Australia’s involvements in conflicts.</p> <p>Maybe this could be addressed in the art the memorial commissions in future.</p> <p>The most compelling contemporary art works – and the most valuable museum displays in our national institutions – are those that consider our complex stories, raise important and self-reflective questions, and challenge simplistic narratives. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/206934/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kit-messham-muir-129956">Kit Messham-Muir</a>, Professor in Art, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-should-the-australian-war-memorial-do-with-its-heroic-portraits-of-ben-roberts-smith-206934">original article</a>.</p>

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Ben Roberts-Smith’s furious phone call to fellow soldier

<p>A livid Ben Roberts-Smith has berated a fellow soldier he believed had been speaking to the media about war allegations, demanding he “stick to the f**king code”, newly released audio has revealed.</p> <p>Nine’s 60 Minutes played a recording of the exchange between Roberts-Smith and a fellow SAS member known as “Soldier M” in 2018 amid a media frenzy.</p> <p>Soldier M is a relative of Australia’s most wealthy individual, billionaire Gina Rineheart, and prior to the phone call, Roberts-Smith had sent him a threatening legal letter, with the mining magnate CC’d in.</p> <p>“Yeah, it’s RS, mate,” Mr Roberts-Smith says in the audio.</p> <p>“Because I know you’ve talked s**t about me, right? I know that.</p> <p>“I’ve got no ill will towards anyone that has no ill will towards me, it’s real simple. So you know, like, I’m 100 per cent, I stick to the f**king code, mate, 100 per cent, and I have. So all the s**t that’s going on, I’m still probably the only c**t that hasn’t f**king spoken.</p> <p>“I don’t trust you, mate, I haven’t been able to trust you for a long time. You say we’re mates. We used to be actually, but for some f**king reason I’ve just become the centre of all evil for you and the group of people …</p> <p>“You’ve got a young child, I’ve got a f**king family, I want to move on, I’m so sick of f**king army, the unit and all the bulls**t. Just remember I was minding my own business, just trying to do my job, and I get attacked by all these f**king journalists. I haven’t spoken a word about it to anyone in the unit.”</p> <p>On June 1 Roberts-smith lost his lengthy defamation trial against Nine newspapers’ The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times.</p> <p>Following the verdict, The Australian War Memorial has faced calls to <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/australian-war-memorial-urged-to-remove-ben-roberts-smith-s-uniform-from-display" target="_blank" rel="noopener">remove the decorated soldier’s uniform</a> from its display.</p> <p>The 22-week trial saw 32 current and former SAS members provide evidence.</p> <p>One of the 32, known as “Person Y”, who has never spoken to the media, appeared anonymously on 60 Minutes on June 4.</p> <p>“You don’t win insurgencies on body counts, yet here is a guy who thinks he’s going to win the war by killing as many people as possible,” he told the program.</p> <p>“We are not above the law, we are not above the rules of engagement, but I think for him he felt he was above all that, that the rules don’t apply. Many people are having a hard time reconciling the fact that someone they thought was a national hero is in fact the complete opposite, proven to be a bully, a liar and a murderer.</p> <p>“It’s a tough pill to swallow, especially for a country that’s believed the lies for so long.</p> <p>“I think they thought they were above the law, that they were not going to be caught, that it was a free-for-all.</p> <p>“I think I could say on behalf of every guy who took the witness stand that none of us wanted to be there, that’s just not who we are.”</p> <p>One day after the verdict was reached, Seven CEO James Warburton revealed Roberts-Smith had resigned from the network.</p> <p>“We thank Ben for his commitment to Seven and wish him all the best,” he said.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

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