(ANTIMEDIA) Over the weekend, the United States did the unthinkable and targeted Syrian troops on the battlefield, killing over 60 servicemen and injuring at least 100 others. Outraged, Russia demanded a full explanation, noting that the aerial bombardment conveniently coincided with an ISIS offensive, further confirming to the Russian establishment that ISIS and al-Qaeda receive air support from the United States coalition.
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Making the story even more unseemly, it was revealed shortly after the attacks that the planes conducting the strikes on Syrian targets were not only American and British — the bombing campaign also employed Australian jets.
Due to its support for U.S.-led wars in the region, Australia has experienced some blowback in the form of lone terror attacks. One could argue, therefore, that it is understandable why Australia would want to partake in the current military activity led by the United States — so they can eradicate the threat ISIS poses to Australian national security.
If that is the case, however, one is forced to ask how on earth Australian jets ended up bombing Syrian troops who were fighting against ISIS. The Australian air force essentially acted as air cover for ISIS militants battling the Syrian army, running absolutely contrary to the coalition’s stated goals and risking an all out war with Syria, Russia, China, and Iran.
What is Australia really doing in Syria? Are they merely a pawn of American foreign policy?
No one really knows the answer to these questions, but there is one person who is determined to find out. Kellie Tranter, a lawyer and human rights activist, is investigating Australian involvement in Syria based on the notion that Australians should have the right to know why their troops are fighting inside that country. She acknowledges that the Australian government’s decision to carry out airstrikes in Syria in September of 2015 was made without any U.N. Security Council mandate. Tranter decided to issue a Freedom of Information request to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to find out how this has happened.
The department responded by issuing some heavily redacted documents, which, in turn, pointed to a somewhat summarized explanation of Australian motives in Syria since it officially began engaging in operations within Syrian territory in 2015:
“The Government of Syria has, by its failure to constrain attacks upon Iraqi territory originating from ISIL bases within Syria, demonstrated that it is unwilling or unable to prevent those attacks.”
As Tranter notes, the claim that the Australian government seeks to defeat ISIS/ISIL is a questionable goal given that they “may have bombed in areas where ISIL had already been driven out by the Kurds and the Syrian army.”
In order to dig deeper, Tranter made further requests to the Department of Defence and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. The latter request was unsurprisingly denied, but the Department of Defence was willing to respond to her request if Tranter could pay a $1,000 fee.
“I do think these FOI requests should be pursued but I simply cannot afford to keep paying FOI charges on top of spending a lot of unremunerative time pursuing matters that should properly be the province of investigative journalists. However, I am prepared to do my bit if others are prepared to chip in to help pay the FOI charges.
Tranter is taking donations to cover this fee until next month:
“One supporter has agreed to contribute $100 and at that level, it wouldn’t take many contributors to raise the money. I’m not prepared to beg in order to raise funds to pay these charges but if you agree that the purpose is important and would like to assist me in ascertaining the facts surrounding Australia’s involvement in the bombing of Syria, please contact me on email@example.com or direct message me on Twitter@KellieTranter.”
The U.S. government is leading its allies down a dangerous path that could see them engage militarily with Russia (and China). The citizens of the world have a right to know the trajectory their governments are following given the enormously high stakes this conflict entails.
If you think this is a cause worth donating to, don’t hesitate to get involved.
This article (Meet Australia — America’s Latest Pawn on the Syrian Battlefield) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Darius Shahtahmasebi and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article to firstname.lastname@example.org.