The Australian army has unequivocally condemned the incident, which came to light with actions of Australia's special forces being investigated. The photo was obtained by the ABC here and not altered in any way other than cropping (I myself usually try to clean up a photo like that with the software on my PC but I've left it as is this time). Independent experts have also verified the photo as real and not digitally altered. Apparently the incident was traced back to a single soldier who was cautioned and "counseled".
A defence source to the ABC has described it as a "twisted joke". A joke? Tell that to the families that lost soldiers in WW2 fighting Hitler. My own father fought in north Africa and then Europe against the Nazi's. Shipped over there all the way from New Zealand. I remember him saying when he was drafted, the army leader told them to forget everything they knew as now it was the army way. New Zealanders joined their Australian counterparts, in my fathers case on a troop ship that left Circular Quay in Sydney. I can't describe all the emotions now seeing that photograph..... I feel like crying.
Is this where the "War on terror" has taken us?
The photograph has emerged as the actions of Australia's special forces in Afghanistan come under unprecedented scrutiny.
The ABC recently published claims in relation to the alleged killing of unarmed Afghan men by a different group of Australian special forces personnel during an operation in the village of Darwan, five years later in September 2012.
The Darwan revelations came after details of an explosive internal report commissioned by Defence were leaked.
The report, commissioned in 2016 and based on confidential interviews with special forces soldiers, said some of those interviewed felt that the cultural problems had developed because of weak leadership on the part of some special operations commanders who had "disregarded the telltale signs of dysfunction".
Chief of Army Angus Campbell earlier this year appeared to take steps toward culture change, ordering a ban on soldiers' use of "death-style" imagery, such as Spartan warriors, the grim reaper, skull and crossbones and the "Punisher" vigilante character.
Lieutenant General Campbell said use of such symbols is "always ill-considered and implicitly encourages the inculcation of an arrogant hubris and general disregard for the most serious responsibility of our profession: the legitimate and discriminate taking of life". ABC
Nazi swastika flag flown on Australian Defence vehicle in Afghanistan https://t.co/SjSwk9LViQ pic.twitter.com/BMr8TVXsdi— ABC News (@abcnews) June 13, 2018