Why defamation case against NZDF by Journalist is so important


The defamation case taken by award winning Journalist Jon Stephenson against the head of the NZDF Lieutenant General Rhys Jones is possibly one of the most important in Journalism for some time.

The attack on Stephenson’s credibility by the Lieutenant General’s comments in the wake of Stephenson’s Metro expose that highlighted NZ SAS involvement in handing over Afghan civilians to known torture units is an active tactic to attack a journalist rather than some simple mistake.

The NZDF didn’t make a mistake, they were attempting to discredit Stephenson rather than engage with his accusations that the NZDF was culpable in breaching the Geneva contention.

This matters because Stephenson has been one of the few voices in the NZ Media who has challenged the NZDFs sanitized version of what we have been doing in Afghanistan. Sadly much of the mainstream media in NZ have been willingly manipulated and played by the NZDFs spin doctoring as has been disclosed by Nicky Hager in his most recent book ‘Other Peoples Wars’.

Here is what John Armstrong had to say about the revelations of media manipulation exposed by Hager

Those who think Nicky Hager is just another left-wing stirrer and dismiss his latest book accordingly should think again.

Likewise, the country’s politicians should read Other People’s Wars before condemning it.

Whatever Hager’s motive for investigating New Zealand’s contribution over the past decade to the United States-led “war on terror”, it is pretty irrelevant when placed alongside the mountain of previously confidential and very disturbing information his assiduous research and inquiries have uncovered.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

With the help of well-placed informants and thousands of leaked documents, Hager exposes the cynical manner in which the Defence Force has purposely misled the public by omission of pertinent facts and public relations flannel.

…so the NZDFs history of playing the msm is well documented, and that needs to be understood as the context to their attempt at discrediting Stephenson. It was dirty propaganda at its most cynical. The NZDF knew Stephenson was right, what they needed to do after such a devastating critique of torture allegations was denounce Stephenson rather than admit any of his claims.

When the military are actively discrediting Journalists with lies to hide what they are really doing in a war none of us have sanctioned they should be up on Treason charges rather than Defamation.


  1. Some of your best work.

    The practice of smearing journalists is yet another one inherited from the U.S.

    P.S. you need a mobile app. You know where to get cheap help with that.

  2. I’m trying to think of when the NZDF has ever actually defended Aotearoa. Perhaps in WW1 and WW2 against some maritime raiders? Certainly not against the French military with their act of war on Auckland Harbour. Maybe I’ll be charitable just this once and allow WW1 and WW2 to be included, even though they were wars to defend the interests of our colonial masters. The Boer War, the invasion of Samoa, Malaya, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq – we weren’t defending anything in any of these. We were aggressors. Even in the Raukumara Basin, they protected an aggressor from Kiwi citizens.

    By lying and defaming a journalist to attack the truth, they are showing that they are not great warriors of liberty in any sense. They are not proud of what they do, or they’d be shouting it from the rooftops. At least at the top, they know they have become grubby little mercenaries of Uncle Sam. They’re ashamed and we should put them out of their misery.

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