As the image, showing an Australian vehicle sporting a flag with swastika emblazoned on it, came to light, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull lashed out at the conduct of the personnel involved, denouncing it as “completely and utterly unacceptable.”
Based on an analysis of two separate experts, the ABC determined that the photo hadn’t been digitally altered. The media outlet later reached two defense sources, with one, who was aware of the flag being taken to Afghanistan in 2007, claiming that it was a “twisted joke,” not a symbol of Nazism. The sources have also identified the soldier who brought the flag to the country and said that the flag was flown “for a prolonged time.”
Speaking with the ABC, Chief of Defense Vice Admiral Ray Griggs reassured that appropriate measures had immediately followed.
“I think the important thing is the situation was dealt with quickly – the flag was removed. And, what I can say we’ve learnt subsequently, is that when the patrol returned to its base, the flag was destroyed.”
"Abhorrent" and "unacceptable" — @VCDF_Australia condemns the flying of a Nazi flag by Australian troops in Afghanistan in 2007. However it's still not clear what, if any, disciplinary action was taken at the time. pic.twitter.com/Ne7v9upvAW— Andrew Greene (@AndrewBGreene) 14 июня 2018 г.
A defense spokesperson told the ABC that the personnel involved in the incident were disciplined at the time, and steps were taken to enhance education and training for other soldiers who had witnessed the flag.
“Defense and the ADF reject as abhorrent everything this flag represents. Neither the flag nor its use are in line with Defense values. The flag was briefly raised above an Australian Army vehicle in Afghanistan in 2007. The commander took immediate action to have the offensive flag taken down. It is totally inappropriate for any ADF vehicle or company to have a flag of this nature,” the spokesperson said.