Whistleblower Sentenced to Prison For Exposing War Crimes

(NationRise.com) – Australian Justice David Mossop sentenced 60-year-old former military attorney David McBride to five years and eight months in prison on May 14 for leaking classified information about the Australian military to the media. The top-secret documents he leaked allegedly exposed some cases of war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

The trial took place in a court in the Australian capital city of Canberra. McBride had initially pleaded guilty to three charges that included sharing top-secret material with journalists, theft, and stealing classified information. Some Australian journalists said on social media that many members of the country’s Armed Forces are upset as it was expected for McBride to spend life in jail for his crimes.

McBride’s case has become one of Australia’s most newsworthy and polarizing stories over the last few months, with public opinion divided over whether he’s a free speech advocate or a traitor. A couple of hours before the sentence, McBride held an improvised press conference as he walked his dog outside Canberra’s Territory Supreme Court, and dozens of people started to cheer him. He told his supporters that he never felt prouder to be an Australian. He claimed that even when he probably broke the law by leaking the classified information, he never broke his oath to Australians and the country’s soldiers to “keep us safe.”

A member of McBride’s legal team, Mark Davis, said in a statement that the group of lawyers would appeal a ruling that prevented him from setting up a legal defense. The judge ruled in November 2023 that the whistleblower, as an army officer, had no other duty than to follow orders.

The top-secret material McBride leaked became the basis of a television series published in 2017 that contained numerous war crimes allegations. Some of these included several soldiers from Australia’s Special Air Service Regiment killing Afghan children and an Afghan male civilian back in 2013.

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