The bewildering incompetence by the NZDF in attempting to explain how and why they covered up 21 dead and injured Afghan civilians during a botched SAS revenge attack in 2010 has been jaw dropping in its audacity.
The convoluted lies and insipid sophistry that the NZDF expect us to believe while they have spent a week stumbling over each other as they stammered and blushed their way through a cavalcade of crude amateur ineptitude masquerading as military precision is so bewildering you wonder how the living Christ they manage to pick up a gun and not shoot themselves in the foot each morning.
A Special Air Service (SAS) led raid of Afghanistan villages in 2010 has nine insurgents killed, then possible civilian deaths are confirmed.
But an SAS commander mistakes an acronym while glancing at a paragraph of a report, and emails headquarters to say everyone is cleared of the possible deaths.
The Chief of Defence Force is among high-ranking officers who overlook obvious evidence, and assures the Defence Minister all is well.
Former defence chief Sir Jerry Mateparae has, along with a handful of senior officers, already confessed they gave the defence minister bad advice in 2011 – which led New Zealand to think allegations of civilian deaths were “unfounded” for three years.
But the explanation given by the SAS has hardly convinced the inquiry’s lawyers, who have accused some commanders of lying.
And in moments the masters of this convenient narrative appear almost exposed.
Brigadier Chris Parsons, the highly-educated SAS commander who apparently mistook an acronym commonly used by the New Zealand forces, was forced to make a red-faced admission under questioning on Tuesday.
“Don’t look at them,” said inquiry lawyer Kristy McDonald, QC, as Parsons turned to the Defence Force lawyers.
He admitted to being primed to recall a detail his written evidence didn’t cover, over the lunch break.
The question of witness tampering hung in the air, and continues to return when witnesses delete aspects of their evidential statement – prepared with legal assistance – that doesn’t quite fit their knowledge of events.
Most of these witnesses admit a degree of fault, with a patchy memory replaced by confidence they would have taken the right action — “If I knew about the report”.
This International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) report, deemed by witnesses to be “conclusive” despite other evidence that included gun tapes, was clearly hidden from view. Yet no-one will admit this.
Commodore Ross Smith, chief of staff in 2014, said his “stomach dropped” when the report was discovered but couldn’t adequately explain how it got there, or how he later forgot about it.
Colonel Michael Thompson received the bundle containing the report and placed it in the safe in 2011. From who? He can’t recall.
..we are expected to believe that the NZDF relied on an international report to clear them over dead and injured Afghan civilians when in fact the report didn’t exonerate them, and this report magically disappeared into a safe and was forgotten yet this ‘mistake’ was repeated over and over and over again?
Who the Christ believes this?
Remember when the NZDF immediately attacked Hit and Run?
Remember how they denounced its allegations and conclusions?
Remember how we were all lied directly to our faces and the NZDF did everything to threaten media, warn media, dissuade media that anything close to a war crime had occurred here?
Well, we’ve seen their lies and the hollowness of their defence. I’d say this was a joke, but jokes require structure and skill.
This is beneath the dignity of the 3 year old child we killed, this is beneath the dignity of the 4 others we killed, the is beneath the dignity of the 16 we injured.
We ask those who fight for our national interests to uphold the mana and honour of our nation, this incompetent farce is beneath the honour and mana of those men and women we task with this duty.
The lies, the manipulations, the cover up of this massacre, a military action that was personally signed off by the Prime Minister, is a war crime, and must be prosecuted thus.