Tuesday, March 13, 2018

NZDF admits they lied

In 2017, Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson published Hit & Run, an investigation into an SAS raid in Afghanistan which suggested that NZDF troops had committed war crimes. NZDF's response was crystal clear: the entire book was wrong, and the SAS were in a completely different village than the one Hager and Stephenson suggested:

He said he is not aware of any other attacks on the other two villages that could have been confused with Operation Burnham. Lt Gen Keating insisted that “it is irrefutable that we operated in a different place” than what was described in Hit and Run.

And now, thanks to an Ombudsman's investigation, they've been forced to admit that they were lying:
The New Zealand Defence Force has admitted that the photographs of an Afghan village shown in the book Hit and Run – the site where six civilians were killed and 15 civilians seriously injured during an NZSAS raid – are indeed the same place where the SAS conducted a raid that night.


Now, a year later, the Ombudsman has ordered the Defence Force to release more information, including on the subject of whether the photos in the book were the same location where the NZSAS was operating that night (22 August 2010). The Defence Force has finally admitted that the “three photographs in the book are of Tirgiran Village”, the NZDF's name for the place where the SAS conducted the raid.

This looks like a deliberate attempt by NZDF to mislead the public about the location and actions of our troops. The only question is whether Lt Gen Keating did it knowingly, or whether he was passing on lies crafted by his subordinates. Either way, someone has lied to us, and they need to be fired. And even if it wasn't Keating himself, he bears command responsibility for that lie and fostering an environment where soldiers felt it was acceptable - so he needs to go as well.