Monday, September 24, 2018

NZDF's contempt for democracy

The government's "inquiry" into SAS war crimes in Afghanistan is to be heard almost entirely in secret:

Almost the entire inquiry into allegations of a deadly "revenge" raid in Afghanistan by the NZSAS is to be held in secret, with evidence and testimony withheld from the public.

There will be almost no public airing of evidence for or against claims the NZSAS raid led to six dead civilians and 15 others wounded, according to rules of the inquiry, released today.

The memo from the inquiry heads - retired Supreme Court judge Sir Terence Arnold and former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer - calls for submissions on its plans.

But it has stated it believes a "non-public evidence-gathering process is likely to enhance our ability to get at the truth".

Reading the article, what that actually means is that the agencies the inquiry is investigating - NZDF, SAS and GCSB - and who are alleged to have committed war crimes have refused to cooperate with it unless they get to keep everything secret and are protected from public embarrassment and accountability. Remember, these are agencies who we pay for and who supposedly act in our name. And here, they're trying to dictate to the democratically elected government about how and even whether they are to be held accountable for their actions.

This isn't acceptable. These agencies work for us. Anybody in them who isn't willing to accept that should resign now. Its not appropriate for them to behave like hostile witnesses. As for the inquiry, it should demand cooperation, and if it is not forthcoming, compel attendance and the production of documents as it is empowered to do under the Inquiries Act.