Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Did NZDF lie to Ministers?

When Nicky Hager revealed US footage of the Operation Burnham raid, obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act, one of the obvious questions was whether Ministers had seen it - and in particular, whether they'd been told that it was edited and that warnings about the presence of women and children had been removed. The Herald (paywalled) got on to this, and the answer seems to be "no":

When launching the inquiry, Parker said he had been shown footage which showed people in the village were armed. He has now refused to comment on whether he was told of the deleted scenes and the US investigation.

Mark told the Herald he was aware the footage had been edited but had no recollection of being told about the missing 12 seconds or the US investigation into it being deleted.

Mitchell has confirmed he was not told of the missing 12 seconds or that an investigation had taken place into the deleted content. He said the footage he did see supported what he had been told about armed insurgents in the village and no inquiry was needed.

Brownlee said he believed he had been told. "As far as 12 seconds being removed, I have a recollection of reading that. I had that report at the time, I think."

English and Key have not responded to requests for comment.

The Inquiry into Operation Burnham has also refused to comment on whether NZDF informed it about the US investigation.

So two Ministers out of four say they weren't told, three refuse to say, and only one says they were. The inquiry I hope will be investigating this, but its looking like NZDF's post murder-spree spin-job, aimed at convincing Ministers that there was no need for an inquiry, tried to bullshit them. They may also have tried to bullshit the inquiry by keeping the US investigation secret (in that if they had informed the inquiry about it and provided the documents, the inquiry would simply have said so). And if any of this is confirmed by the inquiry, then there needs to be heads on spikes at NZDF - because lying to your civilian superiors is absolutely unacceptable in a military organisation, and that shit needs to be stomped on hard.