Nicky Hager: Defence admits raid was located in same area as described in Hit and Run

Written By: - Date published: 5:05 am, March 14th, 2018 - 24 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, afghanistan, military - Tags: ,

Tuesday, 13 March 2018, 1:13 pm Press Release: Nicky Hager

Defence Force admits SAS Afghan raid WAS in the same location as events in Hit and Run

The New Zealand Defence Force has admitted that the photographs of an Afghan village shown in the book Hit and Run – the site where six civilians were killed and 15 civilians seriously injured during an NZSAS raid – are indeed the same place where the SAS conducted a raid that night.

When the book Hit and Run was published in March last year, the Chief of Defence Force Tim Keating held a press conference claiming that the book had nothing to do with the New Zealand SAS because the SAS had been in a different place on that date.

In response to questions from reporters, Keating said:

It’s irrefutable that we operated in a different area to the claims of the book” and

it’s not on an operation the NZSAS conducted.”

Understandably, the public and the journalists were left confused about who was telling the truth.

Now, a year later, the Ombudsman has ordered the Defence Force to release more information, including on the subject of whether the photos in the book were the same location where the NZSAS was operating that night (22 August 2010). The Defence Force has finally admitted that the “three photographs in the book are of Tirgiran Village”, the NZDF’s name for the place where the SAS conducted the raid.

Hit and Run co-author Nicky Hager said the Chief of Defence Force Tim Keating had tried to divert attention away from the issue of civilian casualties by claiming the book was not about a raid the SAS had conducted.

“It was simply a diversion. This seems extremely unprofessional behaviour from a senior military officer,” Mr Hager said. “I believe that the impulse to hide the NZDF’s mistakes led the Chief of Defence Force knowingly to mislead the media and the public.”

The NZDF had jumped on an error in two of the book’s illustrations, which marked the location of the raid incorrectly in the roadless mountains. But the rest of the book – the text, the photos and the lists of casualties – was correct. Mr Hager publicly acknowledged the map error and a new edition of the book was published soon after with the illustration errors corrected. But the Defence Force continued to use the map error to say that the whole book was wrong.

The Defence Force released the new information in response to Official Information Act requests by Mr Hager and four others which have been investigated for months by the Ombudsman’s office. Apart from the admission about the photos, very little new information has been provided by the Defence Force. Instead the Defence Force “information pack” presents its alternative version of what happened in Operation Burnham, largely unsupported by any documentation:

24 comments on “Nicky Hager: Defence admits raid was located in same area as described in Hit and Run”

  1. “It was simply a diversion. This seems extremely unprofessional behaviour from a senior military officer,” Mr Hager said. “I believe that the impulse to hide the NZDF’s mistakes led the Chief of Defence Force knowingly to mislead the media and the public.”


    Oh yes, … and we know what that means , don’t we…

    That Mr Mapp , Mr Key , Mr Mateparae , and Mr Keating have quite a few questions to answer regarding Operation Burnham.

    Its always the way ,… on the big issues, things start to come out AFTER the ones involved leave parliament , don’t they.

    • mary_a 1.1

      WILD KATIPO (1) ….
      Wait for it – Key “I don’t recall …!”

      He might not be in Parliament now, but Key must be scrutinised and challenged about the events that took place in Afghanistan on 22 Aug 2010 by the NZDF, as well as the deliberate lies, deception and cover ups that followed!

      Mapp …
      misled NZ, with the intention to deceive.

      It all happened on Key’s watch!

    • Michelle 1.2

      Wild katipo that is how jerry muppet parae got his position and now where is he another cushy position

  2. Ed 2

    Just before people get their hopes up.

    A quick look at the corporate media’s headlines.

    NZ Herald Nowhere to be seen.
    Stuff “No civilian casualties”
    Newshub Nowhere to be seen.

    The media is owned.
    It is part of the problem.

    Remember this lie?

    • Ed 2.1

      7.20 a.m.
      John Roughan has decided that the integrity of the NZ army is not news.

      Instead this is news.
      “ I was here first’: Woman’s carpark-saving tactic sparks stand-off .”

      We need grassroots media not a media owned by global financial interests.
      We need to take the airwaves back and fund local independent journalists.

    • tracey 2.2

      If they lied about the first thing…

      Another lie supported by the Nat. Government.

  3. tracey 3

    No resignation headline?

    No doorsteping Bridges to account for his Party’s stance at the time. Under “no surprises” policy the then PM must have been told the Truth?

    Was Mark Mitchell Defence Minister or just Shadow Defence? Doorstep him

    • Carolyn_Nth 3.1

      The book was launched in March 2017 – just before John key’s valedictory on the House. He responded to news of new book by saying “Nicky Hager, left wing conspiracy theorist”.

      Mark Mitchell did not become defense minister til a few months later – May 2017 preceded by Gerry Brownlee.

      Jonathon Coleman was defense minister at time of the raid in 2014.

      Does this re-open the question of whether the NZDF, and John key for giving green light on the raid, committed war crimes?

    • Carolyn_Nth 3.2

      Not a headline. And really just not enough news coverage of this. And still there are denials.

      Stuff headline earlier today: Defence Force admits book’s location right, but denies civilian casualties

      And a recent headline form New Shub: Defence Force U-turn: Hit and Run location was accurate

      One of the book’s authors, investigative journalist Jon Stephenson, told Newshub Mr Keating should resign or be fired for either deliberately or inadvertently misleading the public.

      “It was very clear to anyone with half a brain that the incident we were talking about was precisely the same incident the NZDF was involved in.

      “I think it’s a disgrace it’s taken a year to admit what everyone knew. I think [Keating] should either be sacked or resign,” Mr Stephenson told Newshub.

      “I’ve learnt that it’s very difficult to trust anything the NZ Defence Force says on these sensitive matters.”

      So, not a headline, but call in the article for NZDF guy to resign. Of course, it’s too late to call for Key or Mapp to resign – maybe Gerry brownlee?

      • dukeofurl 3.2.1

        General Keating is still the head of the NZDF

        Strangely he seems to be 4 years and 39 days into a ‘3 year term’. Cant see him staying under a new government, cant see him getting another top government job, as from his background he seems to have a lot of links to NZ SAS and US military

        • Exkiwiforces

          I think Keating will not get a 3 yr extension after this, but I haven’t got an idea who his replacement will be, but hoping its a Jackie (Navy Officer) or a RNZAF get the gig and refocus on the Sth Pacific and SEA rather than the Sandpit.

  4. Cinny 4

    So the prior government LIED AGAIN. We all knew it when it came out, the deflection, the nothing to see here narrative, the non investigation, the flip flopping.

    Step up please new government, this needs an INDEPENDENT investigation, and please Mr Ron Mark, don’t be biased about it due to your military history, time to do the right thing.

    Heads should roll for this, bill, key and joyce all did a runner, chickens are really coming home to roost.

    Are media asking brownlee questions? They bloody well should…

    Rewind back to June 2017 ODT

    “Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee said the issue raised by the UN committee was “unfortunately based on factual inaccuracies”.

    “Amnesty International New Zealand executive director Grant Bayldon said the request showed the matter was far from over, despite Prime Minister Bill English’s decision not to hold an inquiry or independent investigation.”

    NZ Public are sick to freaking death of lying governments and insipid coverups.

    • mary_a 4.1

      Hi Cinny (4) …

      “Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee said the issue raised by the UN committee was “unfortunately based on factual inaccuracies”.

      What the hell are “factual inaccuracies?” It’s either fact or inaccurate! Brownlee covering his backside, inventing phrases as protection no doubt. How is it possible for any credible media source to publish this sort of BS? NZ media failing in its duty of working as proxy of the people!

      Some tough scrutinising and explaining must be done re … Key, Mapp, Keating, Mateparae, possibly Coleman and Brownlee as well. Regardless who is challenged, the previous National government is accountable for those atrocities against civilians that occurred in the name of Operation Burnham!

      • Tracey 4.1.1

        “Factual innacuracies” are “pretty legal” when you didnt “deliberately lie”

  5. patricia bremner 5

    In the usual style, they have uncovered a “scandal” to distract. Very successfully unfortunately. Going by Headlines.

    Using suggestions in public, made by interested parties, it strikes me. they are trying to remove a successful fundraiser and organiser and discredit him.

    To hear Judith Collins accusing Labour of a “cover up” was amazing, given her friendship with whale oil and co. and that she was stood down from cabinet herself for her too close relationship with Orivida. What makes her a moral compass?

    The local organiser and group running this did not supervise it adequately, or establish adequate rules. Chops to Andrew Kirton for stepping up as overall organiser.

    I think National did not want the public to look at the SAS again, so this incident is in the headlines, rather than the belated admission to lies by those involved in the SAS debacle, which led to civillian deaths. Timing is fortuitous. IMO.

    So any time things are going well, expect a hand grenade of salacious news to distract. There must be a poll due?

  6. savenz 6

    Is lying (or gross cock ups leading to deaths and coverups) by military ok now? We will see what Labour and NZ First do.

  7. Philg 7

    Are the apologist trolls on holiday today? Shuffling the Ministerial responsibilities (and accountability) around like musical chairs was a clever ploy Sir John. Every confidence in our troops.. Can’t remember…. Not on my watch…

  8. Exkiwiforces 8

    So to double post this, but I felt its probably better here instead of over in yesterdays Daily Review.

    Regards, Exkiwiforces

    With the NZSAS being a Force Level unit in the Afghan and as I believe at time it wasn’t under OPCON (operational command) of the NZ National Senior Commander at time, only for Admin and log reasons. So any go or no go operational orders at the Force Level has to be signed off the PM and his or her’s inner circle depending on the task at hand.

    Mr Mapp’s role would’ve to sight the operational order and Initial the Op ORD while at the same time he would be or should’ve been asking questions like legal, possible civilian casualties / deaths, most likely course of action and worst likely course of action by the Assaulting Troops etc. etc. before its given to the PM for the final signing off and again the PM should be asking questions as well.

    Any possible operational taskings etc. should come from the PM and or his or her inner circle, but in saying that there may be the odd time an Op Ord/ Tasking etc. may possibly coming from the Special Forces Advisor attach from within the Force Element Command from within the Operational Theatre for approval to further advance the rough plan into a more formal Op Ord for the final go or no go by the PM.

    There are a lot of checks and balances along the way like legal, Admin and Log, Most likely COA and Worst likely COA. But the Buck starts, stops and Ends with the PM at Force Level Operations.

    Note: When the NZSAS/ Special Forces are use in a Tactical role like in East Timor they would be assigned to the Force Commander or to the Tactical Commander depending on the Task at hand with oversight from the overall National Commander who would then report to someone in back in NZ.

    The NZSAS was in Gan at the time were undertaking Counter Terrorist Ops/ Training the Host Nation in Counter Terrorist Training in Kabul. So the only way the NZSAS could be diverted from its current tasking at the time had to come from the PM under the advice of his Military advisors or SF advisor or by himself and then it should’ve the role of his military advisors etc to pull him into line before things get very untidy. A good example of this happening is when David Large tried to order the NZSAS into Fiji in 1984 Coup. Going in half cock without all the facts is a no- no regardless who’s in charge. I’ve told the odd commander to go and f*** himself or words to that effect when I’ve felt something wasn’t right, dodgy or when you get the seventh or eighth sense that something isn’t quite right.

  9. mosa 9

    There will never be a full enquiry in to what has happened here Ron Mark will see to that.

    The Greens wont pressure the management over this sadly.

    Bill English and others are exempt from the way they handled and behaved over this atrocity.

    Just truth is all we want.

    This is still our country and kiwis need to remember that.

  10. Tracey 10

    Could National have known in advance the Ombusdmen Report on this was coming out?

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