Monday, March 27, 2017

Tripling down on war crimes

So, NZDF's response to the allegations in Hit and Run that SAS soldiers committed war crimes in Afghanistan is that none of it happened and that they were blowing up a completely different (but nearby) village at the time, guv. And based on this, Bill English has decided that there will be no inquiry. And if you believe either, then I have a round building in Wellington to sell you. Instead, it seems like NZDF is producing yet more self-serving lies to continue its coverup - and compounding its crimes by lying to its political masters. When that's exposed, there'll be a bureaucratic bloodbath at Defence Force HQ, because it is simply not acceptable for soldiers to lie to Ministers.

Meanwhile, the Herald this morning has a piece about NZDF's suppression of an internal report into their failures in Afghanistan, which shows how such coverups happen:

Inquiries by the Herald have found the commander who shelved the report was in part criticised in its findings.


The Commander Joint Forces until March 2014 was Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short, currently Vice Chief of Defence Force, commander of Crib 9 of the PRT in Bamiyan from July 2006 for six months.

His experience there would have given him a keen understanding of the issues raised in the report but also placed him directly in the command structure criticised by it.

He was succeeded by the current Commander Joint Forces, Major-General Tim Gall, who was the Land Component Commander at the time the review was "drafted" and directly responsible for our deployment to Bamiyan.

Yes, its all about personal arse-covering from the people who failed. In the case of the report, it led them to bury a report, then ignore a recommendation from the Ombudsman to release it - something which should result in instant dismissal. In the case of the SAS, it has led to a systematic coverup of war crimes and repeated lies to Ministers. That too should result in instant dismissal.

Finally, Graeme Edgeler points out that its not an inquory we need, but a criminal investigation, potentially leading to prosecutions. The core problem here is that the police are no more capable of conducting such an investigation properly than they are of investigating electoral offences by political parties - they know who they work for and will produce the result which pleases their masters. But on the gripping hand, when the police inevitably fail, the International Criminal Court can step in and maybe then get some real justice - from The Hague, not Wellington.