When the SAS were sent to Afghanistan in 2002, it raised fears that they could become complicit in US war crimes. At the time, the US was sending captured Afghans to Guantanamo Bay, or otherwise mistreating them in violation of the Geneva Conventions, and there was some concern that prisoners captured by the SAS and handed over to the US would face a similar fate.
It seems those fears were realised. According to this morning's Herald, the New Zealand SAS was involved in "snatch-grab" missions to round up terrorist suspects for detention and interrogation by the US. Those prisoners were subsequently mistreated and were not properly registered after being turned over tot he Americans:
Instead of being identified, photographed and fingerprinted and having their weapons properly registered, they had their heads shaved, no photos or ID taken and their belongings thrown into a single pile.
The New Zealanders raised the alarm and wanted to know from other forces whether the proper procedures were being followed by them.
Fortunately they did the right thing, and arranged for the Red Cross to follow up on and monitor all prisoners captured - but it is disturbing they were placed in that situation in the first place. Helen Clark's decision to send the SAS to Afghanistan has seen New Zealand troops become complicit in American war crimes. And that is something we should hold her accountable for.