Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Passing the buck

Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible for putting it there was finally questioned on the issue, and adopted a new line: the Defence Minister knew everything. But oddly, the records which would prove (or disprove) this story had been deleted:

Blackwell's memory was questioned by lawyers. He had initially told a Defence Force lawyer he had no memory of the report, but recent media reporting had rekindled his recall.

He specifically remembered receiving the report by email, and speaking to [then-Defence Minister Wayne] Mapp. But his records, including emails, calendars and other operational documents had been deleted since he left the military.

Why emails and records from others who held this position were available to the inquiry was an open question.

How convenient. Meanwhile, its worth noting that none of this fits with Mapp's public statements on the issue that he found out about civilian casulaties from a 2014 TV documentary, and that he has absolutely no reason to lie about this. So on the face of it, it looks like another attempt at passing the buck by NZDF, another attempt to avoid accepting responsibility. And for an organisation which supposedly prides itself on integrity, that is simply contemptible.