Calls for SAS Australia to be axed after chilling war crime report

Penny Burfitt
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·4-min read

Fans and commentators are calling on Channel 7 to pull their hit reality show SAS Australia in the wake of the damning report into alleged Australian war crimes in Afghanistan released on Thursday.

The inquiry found credible evidence of 23 incidents in which a total of 39 Afghan nationals were unlawfully killed, with 25 current or former ADF personnel accused of perpetrating one or more war crimes.

SAS Australia TV show
The popular SAS Australia series has come under fire after the damning report into Australia's real-life special forces in Afghanistan. Photo: Channel 7

At the same time, Channel 7 has been riding high on the hit series SAS Australia which saw 17 celebrities undergo the brutal training regime of the British special forces, in a course conducted by four former members.

The war crime report was investigating allegations against the Australian special forces.

Fans call for Seven to axe SAS Australia ‘immediately’

Image of Shayna Jack on SAS Australia
In wake of the war crime report, fans are calling of Channel 7 to pull the SAS Australia military training show. Photo: Twitter/ Channel 7

Now, some fans and commentators are calling for the show to be pulled in the wake of the findings, with some saying it glorifies the special forces culture that is currently under review.

“Is the "hit" TV show #SASAustralia gonna be axed now?” was one tweet.

Photo: Twitter/ Channel 7
Photo: Twitter/ Channel 7

“#SASAustralia needs to be taken off air immediately,” another wrote on the platform. “We cannot glorify this bloodthirsty culture. #kerrystokes and @channel7 need to act decisively. #auspol”

Photo: Twitter/ Channel 7
Photo: Twitter/ Channel 7

“Now would be a really good time to cancel this f**king show,” another wrote, adding: “#WarCrimes”

Photo: Twitter/ Channel 7
Photo: Twitter/ Channel 7

“I'd like to think the producers of the tv program #SASAustralia are reassessing their life choices tonight,” one person tweeted on Thursday evening. “Not holding my breath over it though.”

Photo: Twitter/ Channel 7
Photo: Twitter/ Channel 7

“[Channel] 7 should pull the remaining episodes of SAS Australia,” was another piece of feedback shared on the social media platform. “This is a day of shame and disgrace. Cannot in good conscience televise or celebrate this show.”

Photo: Twitter/ Channel 7
Photo: Twitter/ Channel 7

Channel 7 has been contacted for comment.

It comes as the show goes into its final two episodes next week with remaining recruits including Merrick Watts, Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins, Erin McNaught, James Magnusson, Shannon Ponton, Sabrina Frederick and Molly Taylor.

Image of Candice Warner being thrown water on her face during SAS Australia as show called to axe after war report news
Celebrities like Candice Warner were put through a brutal SAS training regime. Photo: Twitter/ Channel 7

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The show put an original 17 recruits through the brutal training regime used to train the special armed forces, including interrogation, shooting drills, gruelling physical tasks and verbal insults consistently hurled by the team of Directing Staff.

The show is based on a UK format, with five UK ‘civilian’ series and two celebrity series as of 2020.

This is the first season of SAS Australia.

Report into Australian war crimes released

Australian soldiers have been accused of unlawful killings and inhumane treatment of detainees. Source: Getty Images
Australian soldiers have been accused of unlawful killings and inhumane treatment of detainees. Source: Getty Images

On Thursday, Australian defence chief Angus Campbell released the report that has sent shockwaves through the nation.

Since 2016, the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force has examined allegations of war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.

Over four years, Justice Paul Brereton interviewed more than 400 witnesses and examined tens of thousands of documents.

Justice Brereton found there was credible evidence of 23 incidents in which a total of 39 Afghan nationals were unlawfully killed.

He identified another two instances where prisoners were treated cruelly by elite Australian troops.

A few of the Afghan nationals killed were not participating in hostilities, while the majority were prisoners of war.

Justice Brereton identified 25 current or former ADF personnel accused of perpetrating one or more war crimes.

As well, there was evidence junior soldiers were required by their patrol commanders to shoot a prisoner in a practice known as "blooding" to achieve their first kill.

The inquiry has recommended the chief of defence refer 36 matters to the Australian Federal Police for criminal investigation.

The matters relate to 23 incidents and involve 19 individuals.

Justice Brereton placed the greatest blame on patrol commanders, believing they were most responsible for inciting or directing subordinates to commit war crimes.

The report covered the period from 2005 to 2016, but almost all of the incidents uncovered occurred between 2009 and 2013.

Additional reporting by the Australia Associated Press.

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