Random Analytica

Random thoughts, charts, infographics & analysis. Not in that order

38. Mefloquine Dispatches: Protected Information & Confidentiality @DVSRC, 27th June 2022

It ain’t actually my bag, Guvnor…

I didn’t participate in the early hearing blocks of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. I understood that listening to the stories of other witnesses would be traumatic. I have a range of service-related conditions including amnesia which make me very susceptible to triggers so I was very careful.

Over the part week and a half, I have been following the proceedings with much interest. It’s my old outfit. 3 Brigade (I didn’t connect with the 3rd Combat Brigade rename). After 25-years absence I thought the time and distance would be enough to insulate me from the trauma.

I was very wrong.

This would be a wonderful segue into my specific topic of interest. Mefloquine. Just a note. Tafenoquine is a relevant subject too and I thought should have been discussed in Townsville.

Yet, something else came across my desk this week watching the Royal Commission which I cannot let go. If you were watching it as a veteran or currently serving member it should sent chills down your spine. According to the witness testimony this week they apparently interviewed a 100 people in Townsville the week before the hearing. Via Transcript Day 5 − Townsville, 24 June 2022. Excerpt:

CHAIR:  Good morning, Mr Gray, Mr Free.  We want to place a number of matters on the record today before we hear from you hopefully.  By way of background, and happy to place this on the record. Counsel and Solicitors Assisting us have requested this brief procedural hearing this morning.

The background is as follows: before our hearing program began, we were concerned to do everything we could to encourage serving and former members of the Defence Force to come forward with any information they considered relevant to our Terms of Reference, and to ensure that there would be appropriate arrangements in place for sensitive information so that they would face no risk of legal liability for sharing information with us.  This is a very important issue for the Royal Commission, as you can appreciate, and we want to ensure every protection is given to those who come forward with information.  In October last year we asked Solicitors Assisting to send the Commonwealth a proposed written arrangement to achieve this.  We were not proposing to elicit any protected information or even sensitive operational information; we simply wanted an unambiguous green light given to serving and former serving members to provide appropriate and textual information for us relating to their accounts about the circumstances of service that led to their experiences of suicidality or witnessing suicidality or witnessing risk factors in service without fear that by doing so, they could in any way get into trouble for revealing Defence‑related information.

Just to be clear. If you have no protected legal rights, you effectively have no rights. Others have tried to disclose sensitive information and have been subjected to severe legal ramifications, including David McBride. I can’t believe I’m backing an Officer, but we live in strange times.

Long story short. I blew up at this. Not that I give a shit but I am personally impacted by this oversight. My bullshit Operation, which was called off on the airfield at Garbutt is still considered classified. What about the poor Digger who was at the Afghanistan evacuation or the other Digger who saw some operational shit go down in Afghanistan.

Not protected.

Yet the officers who oversaw the Afghanistan killings got a warning and the door-kickers got arseholed.

So that got me agitated. Then the Monday ‘sliperinski’. It was magic. The Royal Commission effectively rid itself of evidence that might hurt the narrative. When Counsel Assisting suggested, they extend the preceding panel because the afternoon session was cancelled I was shocked. Because it was a really important session.

What session was cancelled though…

27th June 2022 AM Hearing List

This was the official version…

So, if you are a Defence Member or a Veteran you have no legal protection on your evidence as I write this piece (circa 28th June 2022). Sorry if you have given evidence, consider legal advice before you give any. It wouldn’t have changed my submission, given how old the story still is, which was my reason for writing this piece. I’m still subject to legislation written more than 100-years ago. It was a surprise. Also, the Royal Commission don’t give a shit into your concerns:

 

Boys n’ Girls… If you think I’m bullshitting, consider this last point.

Angus Campbell got the DSC in 2011 for distinguished command and leadership in action as Commander Joint Task Force 633 on Operation SLIPPER. He then effectively forgave officers and threw soldiers under a bus at the same time. Brerton exposed him but it’s all been downplayed. As I write this he got a two year extension to his role.

 

My daily reminder that it is the 356th day of the Royal Commission and we haven’t discussed Mefloquine or Tafenoquine.

 

 

37. Mefloquine Dispatches: Lieutenant General John Caligari, 22nd June 2022

Lieutenant General John Caligari.

I watched his evidence to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide today. Credit where credit is due. The work he has done putting together The Oasis is very impressive.

Not one question about Mefloquine or Tafenoquine though. A drug known to cause suicide.

Bit odd when you consider Submission 65 into use of the Quinoline anti-malarial drugs Mefloquine and Tafenoquine in the Australian Defence Force Senate Enquire of 2018. Excerpt via screenshot:

Two hours of testimony and not one question about this? An oversight maybe?

Anyway, you can read the entire report here: 180716_Submission_1RAR_Sub65

Just a reminder. Today is the 350th day of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide and we still haven’t started talking about mefloquine or tafenoquine.

 

 

Random Analytica: Centrelink. Average Speed of Answer

I’ve been following the discussion about raising the rate of social security payments above the Henderson Poverty line. At the same time, I’m seeing a lot of chatter about people trying to access the Centrelink call centre and not being able to get through. I ranted about the Average Speed of Answer back in 2018. If you have never heard of the ASA, it is basically the time it takes for the Call-Centre to pick up your call. Yes, if you hang up your data doesn’t count.

Anyway, I thought I’d crunch the numbers again to see if last year’s data was any guide.

To my shock it had more than halved!

I’m still processing the big drop and won’t analyse today. You can read the Department’s thoughts about the significant time savings in their 2020/21 Annual Report (or I’ve attached the relevant two pages via 2021_AnnualReport_DHS_Pg102~03).

34. Mefloquine Dispatches: Other Suicides, April-1997 (Part One)

Upon reflection I took this post down. I was very triggered at the time.

To the Lost.

 

Just a reminder. As I update this post (on the 14th June 2022) it is now the 342nd day of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.

We still haven’t started talking about mefloquine or tafenoquine.

 

33. Mefloquine Dispatches: Jim Molan, 11th March 2002

It all started with Erin Molan.

Every time I saw her presenting on the Footy Show it would trigger me. I would blow up. “Turn that shit off, I cannot stand her”, I would scream. I don’t watch Rugby League at home so I would only be triggered at my friend’s place. In the end it became a running joke.

“Turn the TV off, Erin is on”. The boys would laugh.

For the record I have never met Erin. Wish her all the best.

Amnesia is funny.

I came across this letter during my research into my history as crippling bad flashbacks kicked off. Again, not Erin’s fault for my history. Turns out her Dad kicked off those memories. Jim sent this to me as I was coming apart, not for the first time as other records would confirm. I first reported my mental health problems a month after exposure to mefloquine, went psychotic, got misdiagnosed and got released. After many flips, I finally flipped out for real in October 1998. The Australian Army dumped me and wiped their hands.

This was the official response from Jim on my DFM (the modern and poorer version of a court-martial for Diggers. Officers still get a court-martial). For the record. I was still sick.

Luckily, I kept the letters from his angry Legal Officer at the time. Defence Archives did not.

 

Hey Diggers. Stay safe…

Random Analytica: Ukraine. Russian Losses (June 2022)

Updated with data to the 21st June 2022.

The War in Ukraine enters its 100th day in June 2022. The Battle for the Donbas grinds on extracting a heavy toll on both countries. Ukraine still holds out against the Russian invaders. The world grows weary. Random Analytics does not.

At the end of May, the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 30,500 troops. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost 300 troops today (to 21/06). This would take the total troop losses to 34,100. The 7-day average has ticked up in recent days to approx. 228 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition and a pickup, especially in the last 10-days.

Side note: Ukrainians started reported in units of 10 on the 7th June (with 110-dead). Prior to that it was in units of 50.

At the end of May, the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 1,358 tanks. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost 19 tanks today (to 21/06). This would take the total tank losses to 1,496. The 7-day average has ticked up to 8.9 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition. Off big highs.

At the end of May, the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 3,302 Armoured Personnel Carriers (or APC/APVs). The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost 18 APCs today (to 21/06). This would take the total APC losses to 3,606. The 7-day average has been reasonably steady, sitting at 14.7 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition. Steadied against drops in troop & tank losses.

Side note: Big day on 1st June with 41 reported losses?

At the end of May, the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 649 artillery systems. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost three artillery systems today (to 21/06). This would take the total artillery losses to 752. The 7-day average was 4.4 per-day.

Quick data point(s): I expect the Battle of the Donbas will be a battle of artillery systems as well as men. Such is the pickup at the start of June.

At the end of May, the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 207 MLRS systems. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost one MLRS systems today (to 21/06). The 7-day average is 1.4 per day.

Quick data point(s): The Battle of the Donbas is all about artillery. Nine MLRS systems lost on the 10th June. Would equate to the second worst day for Russia.

At the end of May, the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 2,275 vehicles which we can describe as undesignated (such as fuel trucks or logistical vehicles). The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost ten vehicles today (to 21/06). This would take the total vehicle losses to 2,537. The 7-day average is 9.1 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition. Picked up as fighting increased in the Donbas but has steadied a bit in recent days.

At the end of May, the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 48 special equipment vehicles. I’ll be honest, not sure how the Ukrainians designate these vehicles, but I do remember seeing a captured Electronic Warfare vehicle after the Battle of Kyiv. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost four special equipment vehicles today (to 21/06). This would take the total vehicle losses to 59. The 7-day average is 0.7 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Need more info before I could even comment. Still, the Ukrainians are still reporting it so the Russian losses must be significant.

Slava Ukraini.

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32. Mefloquine Dispatches: My Letter to Matt Keogh, 4th June 2022

Matt,

Congratulations on your appointment as the Minister of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). What ever your flavour of politics it has always been a tough portfolio. I wish you luck.

Have you heard about mefloquine? If the answer is no, we should chat.

Regards.

Shane Granger

31. Mefloquine Dispatches: Vanuatu, October 1996

A few months before Operation Baritone, another operation led by the online parachute company from 3 RAR started to pre-deploy for Vanuatu (October 1996). The U.S Department of State noted in its Human Rights report on the 30th January 1997 that:

“The civilian authorities normally control the small police and paramilitary Vanuatu Mobile Force, however, a brief mutiny in October by elements of the VMF over pay issues shook the principle of civilian control. The mutiny was resolved without bloodshed.”

Although the mission got scrubbed, here is a text from a Digger who was exposed to a Mefloquine Loading dose while pre-deploying (shared with permission). It should be noted they have no confidence in the DVA and the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicides. Excerpt:

Hi Shane. It’s * here. Love to catch up cause (sic) I got no idea what’s happening and am generally confused. I was contacted out of the blue by someone at dva (sic). This was 3 years ago. They said it was some mefloquine program and wanted to speak to me about my exposure to mefloquine. Told him I had no idea what he was talking about. But yes had taken malaria medication in 3 RAR and * in late 90’s. He told me he would email me. Following day a secure encrypted email show up. I ring him, he laughs, says oops and that he will resend it and just to delete it. Of course I don’t. But nothing shows up. I ring dva (sic). They keep fobbing me off saying someone from the mefloquine team will call me back. Never happened. I got shits and stopped calling. 6 months later I ring up to be told it’s an inquiry at the senate and I will need to lodge a claim. Advocates can’t tell me nothing till a month ago when advocate tells me to put in claim for mefloquine acquired anxiety disorder. I mention it to *, they say they saw some 60 mins show about it and was going to ring and ask me if I’d been on it cause of some of the shit I through in * then after discharge in *. So that’s me. I don’t really know more than that

This is just one example. The Australian Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs have legitimate questions to answer. There are more missions along with evidence of mefloquine exposure (often undocumented) throughout the 1990s. From Operation Solace (1992-93) onwards.

When will the Defence and Veteran Suicide Royal Commission start talking about mefloquine & tafenoquine?

 

Random Analytica: Ukraine. Russian Losses (May 2022)

Updated with data to the 31st May 2022.

It’s Victory Day in Moscow this month and Russia is facing serious setbacks in its war against Ukraine. So, for the month of May 2022, I’m tracking Russian combat losses. Specifically, troops, tanks, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), artillery systems, Multi Launch Rocket Systems and other vehicle losses. It should be noted that the only source of data is the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine but some leaked reports from Russian sources have aligned on key dates.

On the final record: The data has stood up all month. The battle of the Donbas continues, and it is a battle of attrition. Must be a fucking hellscape.

Not quite the hellscape in the online domain. Yet, people are starting to lose interest in Ukraine. On that note, I’ve just donated for the first time (online) to an outfit I’m following on Twitter. I’m so committed to this outfit I’m going to continue to donate $10p/m.

As for Random Analytica we will continue to follow this into June via a new post. Online stuff is one thing. My little donation might mean an MRE for the defence of Ukraine, or a few bullets on the front line. Small donations do matter and can make a difference.

At the end of April, the Ministry of Defence, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 23,200 troops. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost 150 troops today (to 31/05). This would take the total troop losses to 30,500. The 7-day average has steadied to approx. 164 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition. Pick up of Russian through late April to mid-May. Reducing in recent days. Steadied in the last week of May.

Side note: Ukrainians started reported in units of 50 on the 9th May (with 150-dead) and the lowest troop loss was on the 25th May (with approx. 100-fatalities).

At the end of April, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 1,008 tanks. A thousand! For context Australia is currently replacing its current M1A1 Abrams with 75x newer model M1A2 SEPv3 tanks. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost nine-tanks today (to 31/05). This would take the total tank losses to 1,358. The 7-day average has reduced and settled under ten, today at 8 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition. Peak in early May but has reduced to under 10 in recent days. Counterfactual: Over the last fortnight, less than 10-per day. Running out of tanks since you’re now starting to lose T-62s (another story).

At the end of April, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 2,445 APCs. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost 20 APCs today (to 31/05). This would take the total APC losses to 3,302. The 7-day average has declined recently to 15.4 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition. I’m staggered by the losses (caveat: if correct). If the numbers are correct perhaps, we should start calling Boyevaya Mashina Pyekhoty or BMPs “Putin Coffins” the same way in WWII Soviet Katyusha rocket launchers were called “Stalin Organs”. A seven-day average of APC losses above 25 has been recorded since the 22nd April. 33-days!

At the end of April, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 436 artillery pieces/systems. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost six artillery systems today (to 31/05). This would take the total artillery system losses to 649. The 7-day average has really increased in recent days to 6.1 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition of artillery systems. A big day of losses reported on the 16th May (22x artillery systems).

On the final record: The battle of Donbas heats up. One to watch.

At the end of April, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 151 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS). The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost two MLRS today (to 31/05). This would take the total MLRS losses to 207. The 7-day average ticked up to 0.9 per-day.

Quick data point(s): A big loss on the 3rd May. I’m not sure I’d quantify this as steady attrition (perhaps compared to artillery losses). Especially early April and since the 10th May. That said, 6x losses in the last week during the Donbas fight are interesting and shouldn’t be ignored!

At the end of April, Ukraine estimated the Russians had lost 1,777 vehicles including 76 fuel trucks. The Ukrainians are estimating the Russians lost 17-vehicles today (to 31/05). This would take the total vehicle losses to 2,275. The 7-day average is increasing to 8.9 per-day.

Quick data point(s): Steady attrition. A lot of vehicles lost on the 26th April with 77 reported. An aside but no losses reported 28th May.

Slava Ukraini.

 

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Random Analytica: Ukraine. Russian Combat Losses estimated at 23,200

I fondly remember having an interesting discussion with another Veteran mate of mine (Vietnam era) who told me that Putin was the smartest card player he had ever seen. As he told me “Putin always seems to be beating guys with a pair of twos. Every time!”.

Hat-tip Bob, you know who you are. They called his bluff.

Russia is losing a lot of troops in Ukraine. Russian won’t discuss numbers but there is some anecdotal data around that suggests the number of Russian dead in the first two months of the war is over 20,000. The Ministry of Defence, Ukraine is estimating that the number of Russian combat losses today hit 23,200. I looked at the attrition rate for Russian combat troops since the Ukraine Military commenced daily updates on the 3rd April 2022.

Short analysis. Terrible strategic tactics by Russia. Another Georgia but on a bigger scale. Terrible tactics by Russia on the ground. Combat dead equals 10% of everyone deployed on 24th February. That means every Russian soldier who deployed basically knows someone who is dead or injured (in just two months of war). Imagine that. The morale on the ground must be absolutely smashed.

I trained for WWIII. Watching it live is surreal. Stay safe.

Slava Ukraini

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