It's the social media forum that was started to give struggling defence personnel somewhere to share their problems and share a laugh.

But it's turned into a battleground between soldiers and the top brass who are apparently terrified members may give away its secrets.

The Pineapple Express was launched as a meme page in 2018 for a "bit of larrikinism, humour and morale to those that needed it".

The page gathered 20,000 followers before the ADF had it banned for copyright breaches but it soon restarted and today boasts 36,000 veterans and serving members as followers.

Last week The Sunday Telegraph revealed the ADF had recently investigated as many as 40 people for liking, sharing and commenting on The Pineapple Express (TPE).

TPE received dozens of messages of support and reports of warning letters and reprimands for their engagement with the page.

One of the memes posted on Pineapple Express. Picture: Facebook
One of the memes posted on Pineapple Express. Picture: Facebook

 

The ADF is monitoring the online activity on Pineapple Express. Picture: Facebook
The ADF is monitoring the online activity on Pineapple Express. Picture: Facebook

This week the ADF has come back firing, with members of the Specialist Operation Command (SOCOMD) being again warned their online activity was being monitored and they could face charges.

In an email obtained by The Sunday Telegraph, a senior SOCOMD officer wrote:

"Defence members have been following these sites and posting comments which is not IAW (In Accordance With) Defence or SOCOMD Social Media Policy.

"Social media activity conducted anonymously or under a pseudonym is often traceable back to an individual.

"Defence personnel have been charged for following and/or commenting on posts from such groups."

One of the memes posted on the Pineapple Express page. Picture: Facebook
One of the memes posted on the Pineapple Express page. Picture: Facebook

One of the TPE administrators said: "Frankly, I think the ADF wants us banned because, even through a humorous lens, we are highlighting the flaws that exist in the organisation."

The page contains jokes and memes, clips from popular movies with fake voiceovers and subtitles making fun of difficult situations.

Then there's the links to charity events and fundraisers for struggling veterans, pleas to support calls for a royal commission into veteran suicides and reminders about checking in on struggling mates and where people can find support.

Senator Jacqui Lambie said she wasn't surprised by the ADF's attempts to gag veterans and serving personnel.

"Of course the comments on Pineapple Express are not supportive of Defence, maybe Defence should ask themselves why," she said.

Originally published as How defence is trying to shut down satire site


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