An Advocate/Equalizer International Exclusive: Australian Defense Forces Brass Engineer Cover-Up Of A Drug Trial That Tested A Controversial Anti-Malarial

Test subject later charged with murder of his ex-wife, her lover.

“Crazy stuff started happening. We had a guy from my own company who ended up pulling a para flare apart, for no reason. No-one does that stuff. The next minute, we got back to our FOB and he ended up taking one of my mate’s grenades. At that time we’d had a change in the grenade—once the pin was pulled out, you couldn’t put it back in unless you had a special tool. He ended up throwing that grenade. The grenade went off and he ended up fragging himself. He just wigged out.”

Testimony of an Australian Army tafenoquine Study 033 trial subject to the 2018 Australian Senate Inquiry into Quinoline Antimalarials in the ADF

In June, 1999, the UN took control of the island of Timor-Leste which was seeking independence from Indonesia, and had broken out into violence leading to the deaths of many civilians. In October, Australia would send a contingent of soldiers to act as peackeepers on the island. One year later, on October 25th, 2000, the first battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment took over responsibility for the area from 6 RAR, and were led by Lt.Col. John Caligari.

Above are the Operations and Contact Reports for the unit, which show that on the evening of 11 December, a grenade explodwed inside the Australian compound, presumably thrown by a member of a local militia group. A search for the offender(s) came up empty, and one Australian soldier, Christopher Carter, was reported to be wounded in the leg during the attack.

These events did not happen however, and the report is a fraud. I have received information from reliable inside sources within the battalion that Carter stole the grenade that exploded from another soldier, and that he pulled the pin while in a tafenoquine induced psychosis.

Years after his release from the ADF, Carter was charged with the murder of his ex-wife and her lover, while his five year old daughter was in the house. He never denied the killings and claimed self-defense, stating that his ex-wife had come at him with a knife. A jury would later acquit him after deliberating for one day.

What seems odd to me is the fact that the defense did not argue diminshed capacity as a result of tafenoquine induced psychosis. Mefloquine has been attributed to many such incidents in the United States and Canada, so it would seem logical to me that a defense attorney might try to argue this rather than a riskier self-defense argument.

I can only speculate that Carter was explicitly told never to mention the fact that he had even taken tafenoquine, perhaps he may have even been threatened. I have heard of one witness to the grenade incident who has attempted suicide numerous times after being bullied to keep quiet about the incident.

Soldier Christopher Robert Carter is behind bars charged with a double murder in Upper Coomera but the investigation is far from over

Mackenzie Ravn, Gold Coast Bulletin

January 22, 2015 7:00am

https://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/news/crime-court/soldier-christopher-robert-carter-is-behind-bars-charged-with-a-double-murder-in-upper-coomera-but-the-investigation-is-far-from-over/news-story/fc3aa70e1ee0491e7202acfee314aaf1

Ex-soldier Christopher Carter found not guilty over stabbing deaths of ex-wife and her partner

By Ellie Sibson

Updated 16 Nov 2017, 12:52am

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-16/former-soldier-acquitted-over-stabbing-deaths-of-ex-wife-partner/9159100

Another former member of the same company that Carter was in is Joshua Faulkhead, head of the Comanchero’s bikie gang. In 2015, he was sentenced to 9 years in prison for heading up a drug syndiacate.

County Court Judge Michael Bourke said he felt genuine sympathy for Joshua Faulkhead, who continued to suffer from chronic post-traumatic stress disorder from time spent in war-torn East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/former-elite-soldier-joshua-faulkhead-jailed-for-running-drug-syndicate-20151013-gk7n0w.html?fbclid=IwAR0C5iMQxESu5XcSPQq-2B6_tKQl5U1syTbLLaClleTE7KVVlV20p6X8qbA
Surveillance photo of Joshua Faulkhead boarding a plane to Sydney.

Study 033

Tafenoquine is an anti-malarial drug that was developed by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). It is similar to mefloquine, which was also developed by the WRAIR. Both drugs have been found to be neurotoxic, causing lasting and permanent damage, and can cause severe reactions in many patients such as nightmares, anxiety, depression, and psychosis among others. Mefloquine has been implicated in the suicides of numerous veterans, as well as a number of tragic murder/suicides.

From 1999-2002 the Army Malaria Institute (AMI) in Australia and WRAIR conducted a number of clinical trials in Timor Leste and Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. There have been some serious issues surrounding these trials, such as whether or not the participants actually had informed consent. They weren’t provided with complete information about the possible side effects and many of the “volunteers” had been coerced into participating. Soldiers were being told that those not willing to participate would be excluded from the deployment, something which could have an effect on their future careers in the ADF.

Along with this is the fact that the data used in the publishing of some of these studies was flawed, and the results of some studies were not even published, due to the fact that the studies wewre providing unfavourable results.

Among the documents I received was the list of participants of Study 033. On that list is Pte. CR Carter (1814030), who was deployed from 22 Oct. 2000 until 5 Feb. 2001.

Image result for brigadier stothart
Then Col.(now Brigadier) Wade Stothart with then PM Tony Abbott. Stothart

The conduct of the senior officers.

Image result for lt col caligari
Lt.Gen. John Caligari

According to documents, there were concerns raised by company commanders about the fact that personnel were were being ordered to “volunteer”. However in evidence given later none would say there were any concerns raised. From the documents, their testimony was summed up as follows:

The redacted but publicly available IGADF Inquiry Report quotes evidence from these eight witnesses, which can be broadly categorised as follows:

General Caligari.

Two officers who were excluded from the trial because they were due to be posted out of 1 RAR in December/January or for other administrative reasons.

Three officers who were members of the 1 RAR command team at the time of the alleged order and were interviewed during the inquiry.

Two officers who were members of the 1 RAR command team at the time of the alleged order and answered the inquiry officer’s questions via email.

I also note from the IGADF Inquiry Report that five of these eight witnesses stated that they had only “vague”, “poor”, “very poor” or “little” memory of the events relating to the alleged order for 1 RAR personnel to volunteer for the trial.

One of the three witnesses who stated that he had a clear memory of these events testified to the IGADF Inquiry (p. 43, paragraph 196): I clearly remember on the day when I was being interviewed to sign the form that the soldiers with me had to be directed to read the information as they just wanted to sign it and move on to the next part.

Copy of a confidential document I was sent.

In Submission 80 to this inquiry I note that a member of General Caligari’s staff during this period has stated that a number of the 1 RAR company commanders raised their concerns about the alleged order for 1 RAR personnel to volunteer for the trial: The 1 RAR nominal roll identifies the following individuals who held key appointments in the battalion at that time:

1 RAR Second-in-Command – Major S.A. Ferndale.

1 RAR Operations Officer – Major A.D. Gallaway.

Officer Commanding A Company – Major J.P. Patten-Richens.

Officer Commanding B Company – Major A.J. Egan.

Officer Commanding C Company – Major P.J. Connolly. Colonel Connolly is a serving Army officer, currently studying at the Australian National University under the Chief of Army’s Scholarship.

Officer Commanding D Company – Major W.B. Stothart. Brigadier Stothart is a serving Army officer, awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross on Queen’s Birthday 2018 “for outstanding achievement in significant contributions to the reform and improvement of career management and the Army people capability as Director General Career Management – Army”.

Officer Commanding Support Company – Major M.A. Mumford.

Officer Commanding Admin Company – Major J.A. Ryan.

My recommendation would be for Brigadier Stothart, Colonel Connolly and any other available members of the 1 RAR command team be called as witnesses, providing evidence about the 1 RAR policy for enrolling personnel in the AMI tafenoquine-mefloquine trial. I also recommend that this Committee critically analyse the IGADF Inquiry Report into this matter, which relied on the evidence of eight members of the 1 RAR command group to find that CO 1 RAR did not order members of his unit to participate in the trial: FINDING 26: Evidence received from eight witnesses who held key command appointments within the battalion was that the trial was voluntary, and none of those eight witnesses ever heard CO 1 RAR give a direction or make a threat to the battalion soldiers using words to the effect if they did not participate in the trial they would not deploy.

The redacted but publicly available IGADF Inquiry Report quotes evidence from these eight witnesses, which can be broadly categorised as follows:

General Caligari.

Two officers who were excluded from the trial because they were due to be posted out of 1 RAR in December/January or for other administrative reasons.

Three officers who were members of the 1 RAR command team at the time of the alleged order and were interviewed during the inquiry.

Two officers who were members of the 1 RAR command team at the time of the alleged order and answered the inquiry officer’s questions via email.

I also note from the IGADF Inquiry Report that five of these eight witnesses stated that they had only “vague”, “poor”, “very poor” or “little” memory of the events relating to the alleged order for 1 RAR personnel to volunteer for the trial.

One of the three witnesses who stated that he had a clear memory of these events testified to the IGADF Inquiry (p. 43, paragraph 196): I clearly remember on the day when I was being interviewed to sign the form that the soldiers with me had to be directed to read the information as they just wanted to sign it and move on to the next part.

The IGADF Inquiry Report also states that I identified six witnesses who were willing to testify to the effect that they were ordered to participate in the trial or they would be excluded from the deployment. What the IGADF Inquiry Report omits is the fact that I provided the inquiry officer with the names and contact details of 35 witnesses. The decision to interview only six of the 1 RAR witnesses was made by the inquiry officer. A number of those witnesses have made written submissions to this Committee’s inquiry and some have testified at public hearings. By contrast, the members of the 1 RAR command team interviewed by the IGADF inquiry officer (excluding General Caligari) who stated they have a clear recollection of these events remain anonymous (their names are redacted from the IGADF Inquiry Report).

For these and other reasons the IGADF Inquiry Report lacks credibility and I encourage the Committee to draw its own conclusions based on written submissions to this inquiry and those witnesses who are prepared to testify in public.

Conclusion Based on the available evidence, my assessment is that most if not all of the 1 RAR Battalion Group personnel who deployed to East Timor but did not participate in the AMI tafenoquine-mefloquine clinical trial will likely have been:

Those who were excluded from the AMI tafenoquine-mefloquine trial because they were due to be posted out of 1 RAR part way through the deployment.

Those who were excluded from the AMI tafenoquine-mefloquine trial for medical or other administrative reasons.

Those who did not participate in the AMI tafenoquine-mefloquine trial because they were posted into 1 RAR part way through the East Timor deployment, i.e. several months after the trial had commenced.

Members of the attached supporting elements (i.e. not posted members of 1 RAR) who were not obliged to obey an administrative order from CO 1 RAR during the time of the enrolment because they were not yet under his command.

SUBMISSION TO SENATE COMMITTEE INQUIRY INTO THE USE OF THE QUINOLINE ANTI-MALARIAL DRUGS MEFLOQUINE AND TAFENOQUINE IN THE AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE
Author Unknown

It should be noted that three of the officers have since been promoted: Lt.Col. Caligari ultimately rose to the rank of Lt.Gen. and retired two years ago. He is now the Chairman of “Operation Compass”, a veterans suicide prevention initiative in Townsville, Queensland, where many of the surviving Study 033 subjects still live. Major P.J. Connolly, company commander of C Company, was promoted to Colonel and is n0w studying at the Australian National University under the Chief of Army’s Scholarship.

Major W.B. Stothart was the company commander of D Company, which was the company that Pte. Christopher Carter was in. In August of 2013, then Col. Stothart was made commander of international forces in Oruzgan, Afghanistan. He was the final commander of Combined Team Oruzgan. He has since been promoted to Brigadier General.

What does this all mean?

A number of officers in the ADF committed crimes. They lied in their testimony and they falsified official records in an effort to cover up activities that were both illegal and unethical. Not only have none of them been punished, some have even been promoted. A criminal record and some time in a prison cell would be more appropriate. It leaves one to wonder just what else has happened that hasn’t been brought to light.

All I will say is stand by, because you never know what will come out next.

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3 thoughts on “An Advocate/Equalizer International Exclusive: Australian Defense Forces Brass Engineer Cover-Up Of A Drug Trial That Tested A Controversial Anti-Malarial

  1. We were clearly told by CO 1 RAR prior to our 2nd deployment in 2003 to East Timor that our so called “voluntary” anti malaria trial was compulsory. Those of us that didn’t participate would not be deployed. All, being good soldiers did as we were told. I can’t remember anyone opting out. I still have my trial number tag attached to my ID tags today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We were clearly told by CO 1 RAR prior to our deployment to East Timor that our so called “voluntary” anti malaria trial was compulsory. Those of us that didn’t participate would not be deployed. All, being good soldiers did as we were told. I can’t remember anyone opting out. I still have my trial number tag attached to my ID tags today.

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