Random Analytica

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

Mefloquine Dispatches: Peacetime in PNG (11th January 2023)

Reflecting the frustration at the treatment of veterans exposed to mefloquine my psychologist reached out to Richard Marles, the recently appointed Minister for Defence and Deputy PM and asked a question about Operation Baritone (March 1997).

The member of Richard Marles staff who responded might be unaware of the Company Group (3/97) that redeployed from Shoalwater Bay to Townsville at short notice. He wouldn’t know about the late-night review of your will and the death photo taken in the old hospital block. Nor blood pressure checks and the RMO signing off on your trip to war on the soldiers back in front of you. Picking up your seven magazines. Loading a pouch full of M26s. Inoculations in front of the Hercules. Lariam tablets being passed man-to-man. Briefings which talk about the rioting, the PNGDF in mutiny, South African mercenaries, Rascals, and the possibility of heavy casualties. The smell of excitement and fear as the clock moves from 24hrs Notice-To-Move (NTM) to 12hrs NTM. It would have been better than the Wild Bunch.

This message shouldn’t be coming from me. You should have been contacted as part of the Use of the Quinoline anti-malarial drugs Mefloquine and Tafenoquine in the Australian Defence Force investigation in 2018. In fact, members from 3 RAR were initially contacted by the Department of Veterans Affairs in relation to a 1996 deployment to Vanuatu. It was quickly shut down and muffled.

If you are reading the bad news here, I’m sorry if you are getting the message from me.

The Butchers Bill – Company Group 3/97

If you redeployed with the Company Group from Shoalwater Bay at the end of Exercise Tasman Thrust 97 and ended up waiting for the Hercules at Garbutt while we were staging, then you were given a Mefloquine Loading Dose (MLD). Don’t bother checking your medical records as it wasn’t written down. I had to prove my exposure via Red Cross records (I basically caught a lucky break).

Here is how you can check if you were given a Mefloquine Loading Dose as part of Company Group 3/97. If you got typhoid on the 22nd of March 1997 then you got an MLD as well. I distinctly remember getting 3-4 injections behind those planes. Check your vaccination records. Here is a personal example.

Battalion Group – 1 RAR

I was at Garbutt and had no visibility of this. However, the Australian Government decided to activate the Battalion Group. Once activated it is very likely the RMOs started the vaccination process including anti-malarial treatments. I’d be checking your medical records as well.

For confirmation here is Tony Wright’s 20th anniversary write up of the Sandline Affair. Via the Sydney Morning Herald (circa 2019). From the Archives: Gunpoint in PNG; mercenaries evacuated. Excerpt:

The Federal Government placed a crack Army battalion on heightened alert in a contingency plan to evacuate 12,000 Australian citizens from Papua New Guinea as rebel troops bundled the remaining mercenaries out of the country.

Late last night, 55 mercenaries were put on a chartered Air Niugini jet to Hong Kong.

The confrontation between PNG’s rebellious defence force and the Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan, over his aborted plan to use the mercenaries in the Bougainville conflict moved towards a showdown yesterday.

A Battalion Group is not just made up of Grunts. Things were moving very quickly. Some thoughts. Signals and medics were on the first two planes (so you would also be exposed). Airforce personnel assigned would all be exposed. Possibly a 3 RAR company? Certainly SF. Apparently four naval ships were assigned to the initial deployment. If in doubt, double check your medical records.

To the Lost.

Random Analytica: Russian Troop Losses in Ukraine (to 8th December 2022)

So, the long winter begins.

 

Quieter? The Ukrainians claimed a further 340 Russian troops killed in the past 24-hours. After the Battle of Kherson there was a steep decline in losses, but this seems to have picked up with the 7-day average sitting above 500 for the past eight straight days. At this rate the Russians will have 100,000 dead a few days before Christmas?

Slava Ukraini.

Random Analytica: Russian Cruise Missiles Destroyed by Ukraine (to 28th November 2022)

The Kyiv Independent was reporting another 75 cruise missiles shot down yesterday (which was a huge number). Anyway, it was a typo, but it got me looking at the amount of cruise missiles which Ukraine have claimed they have shot down.

Couple of things jump out at me.

  • Since the 11th of October the Ukrainians have destroyed 282/531 missiles, or approx. 53% of the total in just 49-days.
  • The ‘Big-Day’ was the 16th of November when 75 cruise missiles were destroyed, or approx. 14% in one day.
  • The average has escalated from roughly one shoot down per day to two per day over the course of recent months. The Russians are firing more missiles and the Ukrainians are shooting more down.

Tough days.

Slava Ukraini.

Random Analytica: Russian Troop Losses in Ukraine (to 23rd November 2022)

The Battle of Kherson is over. The Russians are bombarding their former city. Looks like it’s going to be a long winter of attrition.

According to the Ukrainians the Russians lost 410-troops today. During the height of the Battle of Kherson as Russian troops abandoned their positions the 7-day average hit a high of 704.3. That number has almost halved and today was 385.7.

A very tough month for Russian Defence Forces.

Slava Ukraini.

48. Mefloquine Dispatches: Homelessness (21st November 2022)

Homelessness. Not my first rodeo but it has been a while.

I moved into the cabin, a converted bee aviary in early 2018. It has been home for 4.5-years.

On the 30th of October 2022 I advised my landlady that I was involved in the Royal Commission into Defence & Veteran Suicides.

A week later I was told to leave.

It wasn’t much. No hot running water and no immediate toilet or shower facilities (under the main house, quite the walk in the middle of winter I must tell you). As you can see from the above text there were no problems with my landlady in the previous four and a half years. For what it was worth, it was home.

J* might be looking at more rent and thinks a bloke who stood on a wall for a bit might not be a good option (I wasn’t asked). More likely she is worried about her sketchy son who moved in about two years back and his mates getting up to no good. Her son loved stealing my mower fuel or taxing the odd thing out of the barn that took his fancy.

Whatever the reason, the thing that changed her mind was the Royal Commission.

So, my home for four and a half years is gone.

Anyways, my whole family comes over to help me. The five of us spend the best part of three hours cleaning and tidying up (it’s one room). Literally, my cabin is the tidiest part of the property (as the owner and the kids are filthy) and I’ve hardly been there over the past year. When the clean is done I even buy her a VB ‘tallie’ and leave it in the fridge to say no hard feelings.

Later on the same evening I get a text from J* saying there were things she was not happy with and implying she was going to withhold the bond. Minor stuff but I’ve seen her do it to another tenant. I told her to keep her bond. I’m done dealing with evil people.

I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that even 25-years later my service costs me. Everyday. Sometimes in small ways and then you get days like this.

Joy. Homeless again…

 

Crack on!

47. Mefloquine Dispatches: Dun & Bradstreet (28th September 2004)

Being ‘triggered’ is part of my “thing”. I’ve only noticed it in recent years but on reflection it has been happening for a quarter-of-a-century. Just had one today. I’ll document to help explain things!

Here it goes…

I see a tweet via Luke Henriques-Gomes. This is the tweet:

Straight away and out loud I say this… “I fucking know Dun & Bradstreet”.

I’m better with memory work in 2022. I’m surprised by the date but only by one year (which for me is pretty good).

So, after the Australian Army sent me insane in March 1997, I struggled on for another 18-months, in the Army. Then I went very publicly insane again in October 1998. The Army decided after a long fight to give me an Administrative Discharge (effectively a Dishonourable Discharge) and fine me $500.

By the time I got this lovely letter from Dun & Bradstreet I was on struggle street.

Thank you for your service. Also, thank you Joel…

Random Analytica: Ukraine. Russian APC Losses hit 5,000 (to 4th October 2022)

If you want to understand how Russia are not just losing the war but might collapse as a society, consider this. Since the start of the war against Ukraine they have lost 5,000 armoured personnel carriers. 5,000!

 

When I saw Kyiv Independent post the number today I thought straight away, do they correlate with the Russian troop losses (short answer – they don’t). Seems like Russia is running out of APC/APVs for the troops. The losses around the Battle of Kyiv and then into late April/May must have smashed Russian reserves.

7-day average of APC losses sits at 19.6. They still have equipment. The Ukrainians are still blowing it up. The Russians will run out.

Slava Ukraini.

42. Mefloquine Dispatches: FOI – One Document (30th September 2022)

Freedom of Information Directorate
Department of Defence
PO Box 7910
R1-05-A
Canberra BC ACT 2610

30th September 2022

By email: foi@defence.gov.au

Dear FOI Coordinator,

This is a request for the purpose of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 for access to the following documents:

On the 26th April 2019 the Army refused my FOI 348/18/19 request. It stated:

“10. Headquarters 1st Division located one document that mentioned Mr Granger, however it did not relate to OP BARITONE 97. No other documents were found that mentioned Mr Granger.”

Some random full bird. Read that document and made a call about me. He didn’t have to, yet he did. Then he felt the need to “share”.

I think he might also be referring to the night I went insane in 1998. I think he “shared” just to be a bastard.

Upon reflection, I’d be very interested in reading that document now. Thank you.

Should you have any questions in relation to this request, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

For your review and consideration

Shane Granger
30th September 2022

If you need help…

Thank you for your interest. More Mefloquine Dispatches can be found here.

UPDATES

TBC

41. Mefloquine Dispatches: FOI – The Last Signalman (9th Sep 2022)

9th September 2022

By email: foi@defence.gov.au

Dear FOI Coordinator,

Before I make the declarations, I’d like for you to consider the following.

I won’t be able to point to a single document or set of events that would assist in this search. I’ll try but I’m likely to fail the direct request you are seeking. That said. I put forward this FOI request because it is important.

So, a quick story before the declarations.

It is the 6th June 2019. I have recently been released from the Cooinda Mental Health Service, my first MH hospitalisation (unfortunately, not my last). I am trying to work out the MyService website. It is almost as awful as the Centrelink services I have become accustomed to as my health deteriorates.

I fckn hate medals. Hate the glorification of the military. Hate ANZAC Day. Anyways, I finally got a gong and Wayne Swan pins it on me, so I think it is all good. Except, it isn’t good. I wear it once and I’m so shitty wearing it I give it away to my second son (who thinks it has some value). Back to 2019…

I’m doing the whole MyService thing on the MyGov site and they ask me do you want to sign up for the Covenant and I’m like, OK… Should be cool right?

I’m going through the process to get a nice letter from the DVA Minister, the Secretary (oh, Liz) and a pin I could wear instead of the gongs. Even though I hate it all I can find a way through. Until…

Some fuckwit at DVA doesn’t understand rank. There is no drop-down for Signalman. Signaller sure. Bombardiers aplenty… Language matters.

I go berko of course. Even put in an official complaint (completely ignored).

Back to official declarations.

This is a request for the purpose of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 for access to the following documents:

Any Australian Army documents that detail the last document that included Signalman

Should you have any questions in relation to this request, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

For your review and consideration

Shane Granger

9th September 2022

If you need help…

Thank you for your interest. More Mefloquine Dispatches can be found here.

UPDATES

13th Sep 2022: Permission for administrative release of documents

12th Sep 2022: Defence FOI Acknowledgement

Random Analytica: Ukraine. Russian Troop Losses (to 8th September 2022)

The Russians didn’t just have a bad day. They are having a series of bad days. Today was just the worst.

According to the Ukrainians the Russians lost 640-troops today. If correct it would be the worst day of losses for the Russians since early April and the most significant since the Battle for Kyiv.

It should also be noted that the 7-day average of losses has shot up past 400-per day for the first time and today sits at 414.3.

Slava Ukraini.