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Hit and Run developments

Written By: - Date published: 1:19 pm, March 29th, 2017 - 36 comments
Categories: accountability, afghanistan, war - Tags: , , ,

It appears that the questioned NZDF attack took place at the location claimed by the force, but hit the villages named by the book (coordinates used by various parties are off by 2km). See Scoop for the whole piece:

Hit and Run authors reply to NZDF: The cover up continues
Wednesday, 29 March 2017, 12:23 pm
Press Release: Nicky Hager

2. The SAS raid was in a different village with a different name: INCORRECT

The defence force claimed that the SAS raid occurred in a village called Tirgiran, not the villages of Naik and Khak Khuday Dad named in the book. This is not true. The locals know the names of their own villages and they are called Naik and Khak Khuday Dad. The raid occurred there.

3. The SAS raid was about two kilometres from the position we gave in the book: CORRECT, BUT DOES NOT CHANGE THE STORY IN ANY SIGNIFICANT WAY

After the NZDF press conference, Nicky Hager said that the authors stood by the whole story and that at most the NZDF denials might mean that the events in the book occurred two kilometres from where we thought they were, ie. a slightly different location in the isolated mountain valley.

We have checked the NZDF maps shown at the press conference and it appears the location of the raid and the villages is indeed slightly different to what our local sources told us. But the villages at that location are definitely called Naik and Khak Khuday Dad, and all the rest of the story in the book is unchanged. Likewise the photos in the book of the villages attacked in the raid are correct, as are the photos of the victims and destroyed houses. …

The locals say (see Spinoff for the whole):

Tirgiran locals: ‘Tirgiran is not a village, and therefore “Tirgiran Village” does not exist’

Residents of the Afghan area where NZ forces undertook Operation Burnham in 2010 say the NZ Defence Force claim it took place in Tirgiran Village is a nonsense, like describing an attack on ‘Otago City’.

Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson have meanwhile conceded that they were out by 2km in locating the villages, but argue it ‘does not change the story in any significant way’.

Now, locals from the Tirgiran Valley have responded, via lawyers acting on their behalf, throwing fresh doubt on the NZDF claims, saying, “Tirgiran is not a village, and therefore ‘Tirgiran Village’ does not exist.”

In a letter to English and Chris Finlayson, the Attorney General, lawyer Richard McLeod reiterates an earlier request for a formal inquiry.

He writes: “The NZDF has stated that Operation Burnham took place in ‘Tirgiran Village’, which it claims is located 2+ kilometres south of the villages of Naik and Khak Khuday Dad … We have provided the NZDF map to our clients, together with the NZDF media release of 26 March 2017. Our clients are locals and residents of this area, and of course they know the names of the villages in which they live.”

The locals’ assessment: “Tirgiran is not a village, and therefore ‘Tirgiran Village’ does not exist … Tirgiran is a valley area. Naik and Khak Khuday Dad villages are in fact located within the red retangular box in the NZDF map. The identified Objectives 1 and 2 are located in Naik village. The most northern village (incorrectly named Khak Khuday Dad in the NZDF map) is in fact a village named Khakandy. The north-western village (incorrectly named Naik Village in the NZDF map) is in fact a village named Beidak.”

“For the sake of our clients and the New Zealand public, it is imperative that the truth of what happened during the military operation of 22 August 2010 in Tirgiran be established. Allegations of serious human rights violations have been made against the NZDF Operation Burnham. These must be addressed now and at the outset by way of a formal inquiry.”

36 comments on “Hit and Run developments ”

  1. ianmac 1

    Oh boy! Mr English has even a greater mess on his hands. Confusion.
    And fancy with all the forewarning surely the Army should have got it right when questions are raised?
    Mr English might decide on an enquiry timed for sometime next year perhaps?

  2. shorts 2

    cue major inquiry into location and names of villages and all other allegations not included in terms of reference

  3. left_forward 3

    Fascinating (and horrifying) to read how David Fisher at the NZ Herald spins the two press releases:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11827661

    • Carolyn_nth 3.1

      It’s mainly the headline that’s the spin – probably by editors not Fisher.

      • Karen 3.1.1

        Yes – the headlines in the Herald are often misleading to the content. They are never the choice of the writer of the article.

        Basically the NZDF and the government are trying to discredit the authors by muddying the waters, but if they really were in a position to to discredit them they would be welcoming an investigation. The fact that they are not doing so indicates they are trying to conceal the truth.

        Civilians died – they have admitted this so why not order a full independent inquiry to clear any suspicions of NZDF culpability?

  4. Rightly or wrongly 4

    So if the authors got the location of this incident wrong what else have they got wrong?

    We were told that they fact checked and corroborated everything in the book however it appears not so.

    So what next?

    The authors made a mistake not visiting the village location – first rule of crime investigation is visit the scene.

    I still struggle with the concept that the same villagers that hide/support armed Taliban insurgents are reliable witnesses incapable of telling lies in order to embarrass their enemies.

    Also accepting photos as proof when they didnt take them and the photos could have been taken anywhere or doctored was another oversight.

    • ianmac 4.1

      I think Jon Stephenson did visit the villages. Nicky did not. Nor did Keating.

    • Enough is Enough 4.2

      Probably why we need a full investigation.

      Hager and Stephenson have some things wrong (which are immaterial to the issue).

      In any case there needs to be a full enquiry because as it stands no one knows what happened.

      • Mordecai 4.2.1

        Hager and Stephenson have written a book. In that book they make claims. It is beholden on THEM to provide real evidence to support those claims. I’ll support an inquiry when the evidence justifies it, and not before.

    • Anne 4.3

      So if the authors got the location of this incident wrong what else have they got wrong?

      Wrong EiE, the NZDF got the location wrong. They claimed the raid took place in a village called Tirgiran which we now know doesn’t exist. What we do know is that the NZDF covered-up the truth from the time the raid occurred, and have since been on a mission of lies and obfuscation in an attempt to cover up their initial cover-up.

      That is the story my friend. Not some pathetic little point like… the position of the SAS during the raid in relation to the two villages Naik and Khak Khuday Dad (which do exist) was ever so slightly different to what was said in the book.

      If you can’t spot a desperate attempt at distraction by the Defence personnel involved then you need a new pair of cognitive glasses.

    • adam 4.4

      “I still struggle with the concept that the same villagers that hide/support armed Taliban insurgents are reliable witnesses incapable of telling lies in order to embarrass their enemies.”

      Source please.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.4.1

        If, as alleged by John Stephenson, the Tirgiran valley is now Taliban territory as a result of the fiasco, it’s a fair question.

        However, Rightly or Wrongly hasn’t thought this through. If the fiasco gifted the Taliban the valley, that tends to support the criticisms Hager & Stephenson have levelled.

        The fog of war doesn’t excuse leaving civilian casualties to bleed to death, nor ill-treatment of prisoners or deliberate destruction of property.

    • McFlock 4.5

      In the meantime, the NZDF have changed their story about whether civilians might have been killed, and quite possibly got wrong the names of the villages they raided.

      BTW, the NZgovt also have a history of lying in regards to NZDF. Bridge-building and Agent Orange come to mind.

    • reason 4.6

      When I put up my first rather rushed post about our dis-honarble SAS Afghamistan attack ……

      noting the similarities between the killing of innocent civilians by American ‘special forces ‘ as described in Jerry Scahills ‘dirty wars’ documentary and our own night raid on Afghan families in their homes ….

      I missed out the main point …..

      and did not emphasis the similarities…..

      Which includes orchestrated PR attacks on the reputation of the exceptional and brave journalists who reveal war crimes or war propaganda lies …ala Jon Stephenson and Nicky Hager.

      The MAIN point is our raid which killed innocents is just one of Thousands ….. literally one rotten tree in a forest full of them…..

      ….. and quite low in the number of murdered children and innocents …. or “collateral damage” if you speak Nazi.

      Fatim, the three year old child killed by our Warriors … and her injured older brother and sister … and the others killed and injured in her community were not “collateral damage.”

      They were our “hunted down” …’ revenge’.

      And if they were not that …

      Then they are proof of just how brave and what a man of guts that John Key our green light trigger man is.

      In dirty Wars the journalist attacked is Jerome Starky ….. As well as Scarhill who is called a “conspiracy theorist” ,

      We are lied to by formula.

      Scahills “Dirty Wars” showed us the type of war we were mixed up in back in 2013 …

      But like our own exposure by Jon and Nicky it’s one small glimpse …. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEMKwY1vF_8

      There were hundreds of Mai Lees in Vietnam ….

      **************************************************************************

      When watching Dirty Wars again I noticed something both chilling and so very very sad at the ending of this documentary movie …….

      At 1 hour 18 mins I believe we get a brief glimpse of the poor little girl who is the little sister of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki …… the 16 year old boy killed in the documentary.

      Making her the 8 year old girl murdered by one of Donald Trumps first go in charge of green lighting of these special forces assassination teams ….

      Its so far beyond wrong to see a beautiful but sad child destined for death because of where she was born.

      ************************************************************************

  5. AB 5

    So there WAS only one raid and civilians were killed.
    The SAS called the village(s) by the one name (“Tirgiran”) while the villagers call them (“Naik” and “Khak Khuday Dad”). But they are the same place.
    The book had the map co-ordinates for the villages out by 2km – which allowed the SAS to say the attacks were somewhere else. A pretty cynical and desperate use of a technical error.

    • ianmac 5.1

      Ever heard a little kid with icing round his mouth say, “Wasn’t me! It wasn’t me! Must’ave been the cat that ate the cake.”

    • Cinny 5.2

      The NZDF has a history of white washing, one would think with such a history they would only be to happy for a full independent inquiry.

    • Anne 5.3

      @ AB
      Tirgiran is the name of the valley where the ‘villages’ are located.

  6. r0b 6

    Issue appears to be with OpenStreetMap data?

    • McFlock 6.1

      lol Maybe NZDF flew there with Applemaps.

      Seriously, that’s the big problem they found with the book – not even that GPS coords were out/truncated? What a load of crap from NZDF

  7. One Anonymous Bloke 7

    The NZDF would rather obfusticate and cast aspersions on the authors’ competence, rather than admit they have either been economical with the truth, and learn to front-foot problems rather than wishing them away.

    It’s shameful.

    They also appear to have lost the confidence of various SAS personnel.

    • gsays 7.1

      Forgive the rugby reference, this is the worst PR tactic since Alistair Thompson decide to besmirch Tana Umaga, for the week leading up to the second Lions test in 2005.

      Who are the defence force paying my $ to for this incompetent advice?

  8. Karen 8

    Marianne Elliott spent 6 years in Afghanistan as part of a United Nations human rights mission and has said identifying precise locations was incredibly difficult.

    The villages named by Hager and Stephenson are correct, the actual location on the map they supplied is a couple of kilometres out. This is a remote valley in a mountainous region – 2 kms is nothing – a short walk.

    On the other hand the NZDF have made up the name of a village and completely changed their story since their 2011 statement. Hmmm – who to believe …..

  9. exkiwiforces 9

    You should see the comments over in defencetalk.com about hit and run.

    http://www.defencetalk.com/forums/geo-strategic-issues/nzdf-general-discussion-thread-6137/

    BTW, I’m not a member to that forum for obvious reasons, but I do follow a few threads out of interest.

    • Anne 9.1

      Of the few I bothered to read, they’re not the brightest bulbs in the land! No wonder the Defence Force hierarchy can get away with cover-ups with a mob mentality like that.

      What do you think are the chances of the SAS soldiers etc. who talked to Hager and Stephenson coming forward as witnesses in the event of either a national or international investigation? At that level they would be afforded some protection from the Defence Force related bovver boys.

      • exkiwiforces 9.1.1

        I really don’t know, does have NZ whistle bowers scheme? At best guess the following members could get the boot or worst RTU if they step forward as it would be major breach of OPSEC.

        The last time members of the SAS broke ranks was back in 1982 during the Falklands war when one of the SQN’s from Sqn 22SAS was ordered to carry out a Air Landing Assault on the Argie Airbase where the Exocet missions were carry out from and in the end the SAS assault was cancel. That was swept under the carpet very quietly.

        • Cinny 9.1.1.1

          Thanks for the link will go check it out. Can only imagine the loyalty over the truth streaming out of there.

          Was thinking the same today about whistle blower protection in NZ, especially for those in the NZDF.

          Enjoying reading your comments on this topic ExKiwiForces, appreciate the insight.

          • exkiwiforces 9.1.1.1.1

            I hope you have a strong stomach and most people here at the standard know I’m pro defence and try give some insight of 20 odd years in the Queens uniform serving to 2 Nations, but these guys take it to a whole new level.

            • Cinny 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Sure do 😀

              That was interesting reading, it’s almost like they feel that people are having a go at the soldiers. Which is wrong, no one is having a go at the soldiers, because a good soldier follows orders. It’s a shame those fellas in the forum are missing the point.

              Thou shalt not criticize the military lololz. USA has that situation stitched up, loyalty towards the military is embedded in their culture they’ve spent decades branding it to buggery. From praising the soldiers at the start of every sports game to recruiting the youth via gaming sites, psychological warfare Murica styles.

              In 2015 alone, the Pentagon provided at least $6.8 million in “paid patriotism” contracts to national football, baseball, hockey and soccer teams.
              Here’s a link to a fascinating video story on the topic from The Listening Post back in 2015

              Funny thing is, all this speculation about our NZDF could be cleared up with an independent inquiry. Unfortunately the out going governments reluctance to do so only exasperates the problem and creates more division

              • exkiwiforces

                Yes I know all about the Yanks “paid patriotism” when I was last state side and it got a little bit over bearing at times. I felt less safe in the US than I did in the UK or Europe for that matter.

                I personally don’t think there will be independent inquiry as there is too many fingers in the pie regardless who’s in government, but I could be wrong.

                There is a old saying in the firm that has stood the test of time “Hurry and wait” or it likes turning up to Air movements at 0400 for a 0800 departure, for then the plane to delayed for a new time for 1000, then the flight to be caned at 1500 and to be told be back at Air movements at 0400 for a new departure time at 1000. Yet you are only travelling 600km’s as the crow flies. You might get there in the end, but then again you might not get at all.

  10. Murry 10

    Oh dear Hager et al got it wrong and everyone wrings there hands. The defence force got it right. Some of the posts say that the NZDF made up the name of the village. Sorry village idiots, you can find the village the NZDF refer too on Google earth…not the case with the hager lies

    • joe90 10.1

      Is that you, Catapult?.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.2

      Just like the NZDF “got it wrong” when they said there were no civilian casualties, and when they said there might have been but the Yanks killed them, and when they invented the name of a village.

      Now they’ve been forced kicking and screaming to tell part of the truth. The rest will come out too: the SAS troops who were interviewed for Hit & Run will make sure of that.

      Would you mind entertaining me by wailing and whining in denial for a bit Murry?

  11. Drowsy M. Kram 11

    Hager and Stephenson corrupt – really? What might they be trying to cover up?

    And are our military leaders and their masters (only human, after all) free of corruption and cover-ups?

    “I want the truth.
    You can’t handle the truth.”

    ‘Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.’ (from The Idler, 1758)

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