Monday, February 19, 2018

NZDF lied to us all along

When the New Zealand SAS raided two villages in Afghanistan in a revenge attack over the death of a kiwi soldier, they told us they hadn't killed any civilians. When Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson published Hit & Run showing that they had, NZDF claimed they were wrong. But it turns out that while they were making those claims of no civilian deaths, they had been sitting on intelligence reports saying the opposite:

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) received intelligence updates within one or two days of the August 2010 SAS raid in Afghanistan that reported civilian casualties, including the death of a child, new Official Information Act documents reveal. This is what was written in the book Hit and Run but the NZDF had denied the whole book.

Hit and Run co-author Nicky Hager, who has been probing the defence force using the Official Information Act (OIA), says this is an important crack in the NZDF denials.

The 13 February 2018 NZDF OIA response admitted that five New Zealand military intelligence reports written after the SAS raid “mention the death of a child” and also injuries to a woman. The intelligence reports were dated 24 (two), 25 and 26 August 2010, the days following the 22 August 2010 raid, and 27 July 2011.*

The NZDF letter said the reports of civilian casualties were “unconfirmed” – but under international law and the NZDF’s own internal rules, the SAS should have thoroughly investigated any reports of civilian casualties during an operation that it had commanded. Instead, it appears they did not bother to investigate nor made any effort to help the victims.

So, they lied to us all along - and not for any reason of protecting lives or operational security at a critical moment, but to protect their own reputation and maintain public support for their dirty little war. And that fact alone should be reason enough to bring them all home and take their toys away forever - they have clearly shown that they can not be trusted to respect democratic control while involved in a war, so we shouldn't let them play their little war games until they have proven otherwise.