Thursday, September 19, 2019

An increasingly shoddy coverup

The Operation Burnham inquiry continued to question senior NZDF staff today, and their shoddy coverup over their knowledge of civilian casualties continue to fall apart. If you recall, first, we were asked to believe that it was all a series of "mistakes and errors": a senior officer with multiple degrees "misinterpreted" an acronym which he never misinterpreted anywhere else. Then of course there was the report itself, which NZDF categorically swore it didn't have, only to admit that they'd had it all along. But they claimed to have no idea who read it. But it turns out they were lying about that too:

However, the inquiry's chairman, Sir Terence Arnold, on Thursday morning raised the possibility of a second register – asking the Defence Force to get a copy immediately.

A barrister assisting the inquiry, Lucila van Dam, said they had not been aware of the existence of the alternative log.

The inquiry was told it took about 15 minutes to find the file and heard the entry said the ISAF report had been checked in on September 1, 2011 by the director of special operations.

It sounds like the inquiry should be asking some pointed questions about why there was even a second register in the first place, and why they weren't told about it earlier. And it sounds like they should be putting the former director of special operations on the stand to ask him some questions about the report and who he informed about it. Of course, he's described as having "a high level of integrity" by a former defence force chief - and if so, I'd expect him to answer. But sadly, given how other people similarly described have fared in this inquiry, I'm beginning to think that NZDF has a different definition of "integrity" to the rest of us.

Meanwhile, the standard of shit NZDF is expecting us to believe is becoming truly outrageous. And with every further piece of bullshit, the alternative explanation becomes more and more compelling: NZDF lied, and lied all along, to protect their reputation.