Australian special forces soldiers are operating an Instagram account that celebrates war crimes allegedly committed in Afghanistan and sells bumper stickers reading “Make Diggers Violent Again”. The ABC reports that the account, titled State Sanctioned Violence, promotes a range of merchandise to its thousands of followers, including T-shirts bearing the slogan “High Velocity Atrocities”. One post features footage of people being killed by missiles, guns and drone strikes, while some posts joke about making lampshades out of the skins of Taliban members and hacking off the ears of village elders. Others refer to concerns in the defence community that an ongoing inquiry into war crimes will only target rank-and-file soldiers and let officers walk free. In a statement, Defence said it knew about the account but was “not aware of any connection” with serving Australian Defence Force personnel. When the ABC provided the name of a serving soldier linked to the account, the ADF said it would investigate.
A draft plan leaked to The Herald Sun indicates the Victorian government may extend Melbourne’s stage four lockdown for an additional fortnight with limited tweaks. The changes under consideration after September 14 include allowing two hours of exercise per day, split up into two sessions, and giving single people and single parents the right to have a nominated visitor at home. The evening curfew would remain in place and widespread business restrictions would continue. The road map indicates bigger changes from September 28, when Melbourne’s curfew would be lifted and people would be allowed to socialise outdoors with five people from a maximum of two households. Childcare would reopen and a phased return to school would begin in Term 4. Similar changes would be made in regional Victoria with the same timeline.
The lower house of federal parliament has passed proposed changes to the Migration Act that would allow Home Affairs Minster Peter Dutton and acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge to declare certain items prohibited and grant Australian Border Force officials additional powers to search detainees. Refugee advocates, Amnesty International and the Law Council of Australia have criticised the bill, which could see mobile phones stripped from detainees, arguing it could lead to human rights breaches against detainees. The legislation, opposed by Labor, will now to go the Senate, where independent Jacqui Lambie is likely to hold the crucial vote deciding its future. The Greens and crossbench senators Stirling Griff from the Centre Alliance and independent Rex Patrick have voiced their opposition to the bill.
Germany has claimed to have found “unequivocal proof” that Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a novichok nerve agent. Navalny was evacuated to Berlin after falling ill in Siberia last month and remains in a coma. German chancellor Angela Merkel said Navalny was a victim of attempted murder and called for Russia to provide answers. Navalny’s team maintains he was poisoned on Russian President Vladimir Putin's orders but the Kremlin has dismissed the allegation.