The Dim-Post

July 4, 2011

Blue on blue

Filed under: general news — danylmc @ 8:43 am

Via Stuff, last week, on reports that the SAS were injured in a friendly fire incident:

A Defence Force spokesman, who would not be named, said: “Although you cannot always be completely sure in very complex operations with multiple agencies involved in resolving the situation we have no evidence to suggest that friendly fire was a factor in what occurred.”

Via Radio New Zealand this morning:

A top-level apology is reported to have been made over friendly fire which injured a New Zealand SAS officer in Afghanistan last week.

The Taliban attack at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul last Tuesday left 22 people dead, including the nine attackers.

Two New Zealand SAS officers were also injured in the attack, as they worked alongside Afghan police to secure the hotel.

BBC correspondent Bilal Sarwary says says he has met officials who told him a police officer accidentally shot one of the New Zealand soldiers.

He says the officer, and Afghanistan’s Interior Minister, have both apologised.

New Zealand Defence Minister Wayne Mapp says he is not aware of any apology.

A clumsy form of censorship, or does our government have, basically, no idea what’s going on over there whatsoever?

Update: From the comments, Tinakori suggests:

Or, gasp!, the BBC has got the wrong end of the stick.

There’s always a chance of mis-reporting, but when it comes to defence matters it’s safe to assume that the government and military are either incorrect or lying about absolutely everything, unless we’re presented with overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

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21 Comments »

  1. I would go with Clumsy, Mapp, Key et al, just love playing like soldiers too much. Remember the Cold Stare from Clark as she said”No Comment” or “I do not comment on operational matters”. She did that for a very good reason as shown above.

    Comment by andy (the other one) — July 4, 2011 @ 8:59 am

  2. Or, gasp!, the BBC has got the wrong end of the stick.

    Comment by Tinakori — July 4, 2011 @ 9:00 am

  3. While I on most occasions favour the “cock-up over conspiracy” view of the world, David Beatson’s reporting on this over at Pundit makes me think there’s a bit too much lying about what the SAS is up to in Afghanistan to be mere incompetence.

    http://www.pundit.co.nz/blogs/david-beatson

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — July 4, 2011 @ 9:01 am

  4. I think it’s pretty plausible that the answer is “both”. They have no idea, but they don’t want you to know.

    Comment by Stephen Judd — July 4, 2011 @ 9:07 am

  5. @Andrew Geddis – This government has repeatedly lied over the role of our SAS. Mentoring? Non-combat? Bullshit all along – and I’d wager Key knew it was bullshit when he said it.

    Such is the cultural cringe of our Republican prime minister from Hawaii we are in the same position we were in during the first world war, where the operational control of our soldiers is totally controlled by foreigners. Frazer and Freyburg ensured that Wellington always knew exactly what was going on and what risks we were prepared to take with our troops in WWII. I have serious doubts Key and Mapp can claim as much.

    Comment by Sanctuary — July 4, 2011 @ 9:16 am

  6. NZPA has a longer quote from Sarwary.

    BBC journalist Bilal Sarwary told the broadcaster that he had been told directly by police about the apology

    “A day after the attack I met with several senior police officials… they told me that one of their soldiers had mistakenly opened fire. They said that the New Zealand soldier was extremely upset and the Afghan official said ‘we understood and we went and apologized ‘,” Sarwary said.

    The Afghan officials he spoke to emphasised they appreciated what the New Zealanders had done and said they played a ‘crucial role ‘ opening locked and booby trapped rooms

    That gratitude had been passed along with the apology which was accepted

    Sarwary said his sources were several reliable police officials that he had known for years.

    So Sarwary’s either just lying, or we need a theory as to why police officials would say such things, or it’s true.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — July 4, 2011 @ 9:52 am

  7. I’m no conspiracy theorist but seriously, this government can NEVER be trusted to tell the truth about anything related to what the military is doing.

    Remember how we had Mapp or whoever saying, until he was blue in the face, that no we weren’t shooting bad guys in a certain area, then some Norweigan newspaper took a bunch of photos of our guys doing exactly that? They’re pathological liars.

    Comment by Hobbes — July 4, 2011 @ 10:07 am

  8. I have it on good authority that the S.A.S. aren’t even in Afghanistan. They’re in Papakura drinking cocktails and playing war games with Alasdair Thompson and friends.

    Comment by Newtown News — July 4, 2011 @ 10:14 am

  9. Not really sure what the excitement is. A week ago, he said “maybe”. This week, someone’s saying it did happen, and Mapp is saying he hasn’t been told about it. Sounds like the soldier involved got a personal apology, not an apology that went to the Minister and then back down. Is there a reason the Minister should know about it? Is there a reason he would comment on it if he did? I thought the commitment to Afghanistan was a bi-partisan one, is that not the case?

    Comment by PaulL — July 4, 2011 @ 10:21 am

  10. PaulL

    “I thought the commitment to Afghanistan was a bi-partisan one, is that not the case?”

    No. It isn’t: http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/labour-opposes-latest-sas-deployment-3003639

    But irrespective of whether or not you think it is a good idea to have troops in Afghanistan for combat purposes, there remain questions as to whether the Government should (i) know what they are doing; and (ii) be forthright with the NZ public as to what they are doing.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — July 4, 2011 @ 10:57 am

  11. The Afghan officials he spoke to emphasised they appreciated what the New Zealanders had done and said they played a ‘crucial role ‘ opening locked and booby trapped rooms

    OT – but cannot think of less enticing job description

    Comment by Leopold — July 4, 2011 @ 11:07 am

  12. Ah yes leopold, but one of the routine justifications given by the keyboard commandos of our fair land for having our SAS in Afghanistan is they “are loving doing what they were trained to do”, as if job satisfaction should be a key driver in New Zealand’s foreign policy decision making.

    And anyway, looking at the strained and combat weary faces in the recent pictures of our SAS in Afghanistan put me mind of a letter a fifteen year old subaltern wrote to his father after the battle of Waterloo in which he said “…I have often expressed a desire to see a general action. I have, and now I am perfectly satisfied.”

    Comment by Sanctuary — July 4, 2011 @ 11:17 am

  13. A clumsy form of censorship, or does our government have, basically, no idea what’s going on over there whatsoever?

    Basically, leading dumbasses Key and McCully are aware they need to keep quiet about what the SAS does, but also can’t resist the temptation to indulge in a bit of vicarious glory-basking, so they try and say something about what the SAS has been up to without actually saying anything about what the SAS has been up to – which any non-dumbass could have told them would just make them (and by extension, all of us) look stupid. As Andy points out in comment 1, Clark avoided this clown act and the country looked a lot less stupid for it.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — July 4, 2011 @ 11:33 am

  14. What Psycho Milt said. Shut up already, dicks. (McCully and Key.)

    Comment by Progger — July 4, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

  15. “Clark avoided this clown act and the country looked a lot less stupid for it.”

    Actually it looked more like Clark never wanted to be reminded we had troops in Afghanistan, and her “steely gaze” and no comment was used on anyone foolish enough to remind her of that fact.

    Key is simply more open about the fact, as he should be, but it opens him up to the nit pickers.

    JC

    Comment by JC — July 4, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

  16. The cover up, the cock up about details and the BBC story is not correct are all possible options, but not including the latter is a small and amusing piece of ancestor worship. Public radio is just as capable as any other form of journalism of cliche and inaccuracy.

    Comment by Tinakori — July 4, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

  17. But it’s not really a ‘cock up about details’.

    It’s about the PM making statements to the media about what is happening with our troops that imply he knows what is going on, when it seems he fucking doesn’t.

    It’s ok (up to a point) not to know. But if he doesn’t know, then he should either say he doesn’t know or not comment. And it’s not nit picking to point this out seeing it’s happened more than once.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — July 4, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

  18. “But if he doesn’t know, then he should either say he doesn’t know or not comment. And it’s not nit picking to point this out seeing it’s happened more than once.”

    His precise words are:

    “I’ve asked the Chief of Defence Force about that and the view is that is not the case. While there will always be an investigation into these matters and they are complex when you have a number of agencies involved as was the case with the shoot out at the Intercontinental in Kabul, the view is they don’t think it’s likely it was friendly fire,”

    Ii seems pretty clear to me he’s saying the current view is it wasn’t friendly fire but there will be an investigation.. whats wrong with that?

    JC

    Comment by JC — July 4, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

  19. May 2011- John Key says about Dr Mike Joy and his challenging of the 100% Pure brand: “He’s one academic, and like lawyers, I can provide you with another one that will give you a counterview.” Never mind evidence. In April, the govt ignores/downplays Metro magazine’s report that our boys in Afghanistan were handing over prisoners to be tortured. In July, one of our boys gets shot by the very blokes he is there to protect and, again, the govt pretends it hasn’t happened.

    Is this an election year, or what?

    Comment by Neil — July 4, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

  20. Yes JC? Mr Key used a lot of words to say that it might be true but it might not be but until he is told definitively then maybe he can give us that -er line so that you can take what you like from it and believe whatever you like and when you quote him it can be read in ambiguous ways to suit whoever he is talking to but lets go back a bit it is all Labour’s fault.

    Comment by ianmac — July 4, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

  21. The truth will eventually come out on this matter and it will not be good for New Zealand’s standing, reputation. I feel sorry for the good men and women in the Defence Force who have been let down by their leaders and the politicians. The military are proud upholders of the ANZAC tradition in which our soldiers fought for freedom, democracy and the rule of law. In Afghanistan there is no freedom, a kleptocracy and a lawless regime. Kiwis need to be told te truth about what’s going on in this protracted and senseless war. New Zealand should show some leadership and get out of Afghanistan before the rush. We have seen “The Surge”… the Rush (for the exit) is next.

    Comment by Phil Wallington — July 5, 2011 @ 2:58 pm


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