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Posts Tagged ‘war crimes’

Letter to the editor – Bill English dives head first into the cover-up cess-pool

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Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Listener <letters@listener.co.nz>
date: 4 April 2017
subject: Letters to the editor

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The editor
The Listener
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On 3 April, our esteemed Prime Minister, Bill English, announced that there would be no independent commission of inquiry into allegations of civilian deaths, injuries, and deliberately destroyed homes in a SAS-led raid in Tirgiran Valley in 2010. It was also alleged that a  prisoner was handed over to Afghan security forces where torture was a well-known interrogation technique.

English’s excuse;

“After considering [that] briefing, [General Keating’s] letter to [Defence Minister] Gerry Brownlee and viewing video footage of the operation, I’ve concluded there is no basis for ordering an inquiry.”

I trust the facts as presented.”

English’s explanation for refusing an impartial inquiry defies credulity.

In effect, an instigator of an alleged crime – the NZ Defence Force – was asked to provide a reason to avoid an inquiry. The NZDF duly complied.

What did English expect, a full admission of wrong-doing by New Zealand forces in Tirgiran Valley? A written, signed confession?

Is this to be the new standard of accountability from National? That any allegations of impropriety is put to alleged offenders; they deny wrong-doing; and English accepts said denials without question?

Let us not forget that on 21 March, the NZDF responded to allegations of civilian deaths and injuries at Naik and Khak Khuday Dad with a flat-out denial;

“The investigation concluded that the allegations of civilian casualties were unfounded.”

Six days later, Defence Force chief, Tim Keating admitted “possible” casualties;

“Subsequent information, received after Operation Burnham indicated that civilian casualties may have been possible […] The investigation team concluded that civilian casualties may have been possible due to the malfunction of a weapon system.”

Both statements are currently viewable on the NZDF  website.

By resisting calls for an inquiry, English has implicated himself in a possible cover-up.

There is no other way to interpret his words.
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.-Frank Macskasy

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[address and phone number supplied]

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Appendix

Email addresses for newspapers for other budding letter-writers wanting to express their demand for a Commission of Inquiry. (Maximum word-length stated in brackets)

Daily Post (250 words)
editor@dailypost.co.nz

Dominion Post (200 word limit)
letters@dompost.co.nz

Listener (300 word limit)
editor@listener.co.nz

NZ Herald (200 word limit)
editor@herald.co.nz

Otago Daily Times (150 words)
odt.editor@alliedpress.co.nz

The Press (150 words)
letters@press.co.nz

Southland Times (250 words)
letters@stl.co.nz

Sunday Star Times (150 word limit)
letters@star-times.co.nz

Waikato Times (200 words)
editor@waikatotimes.co.nz

 

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References

Radio NZ: ‘No basis’ for Afghan raid inquiry – PM

New Zealand Defence Force: NZDF Response To Book

New Zealand Defence Force: Speech notes for Press Conference on Operation Burnham (p6)

Previous related blogposts

Letter to the editor – Commission of Inquiry, NOW!

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 5 April 2017.

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Letter to the editor – Commission of Inquiry, NOW!

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>
date: 31 March 2017
subject: Letter to the editor
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The Editor
Dominion Post
 
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Since the release of Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson’s “Hit and Run” on 21 March,  the public has been treated to denials and conflicting information from the NZDF.

On 21 March, the NZDF responded to allegations of civilian deaths and injuries at Naik and Khak Khuday Dad with this statement on their website;

“The investigation concluded that the allegations of civilian casualties were unfounded.”

Six days later, Defence Force chief, Tim Keating stated;

“Subsequent information, received after Operation Burnham indicated that civilian casualties may have been possible […] The investigation team concluded that civilian casualties may have been possible due to the malfunction of a weapon system.”

Both statements are currently viewable on the NZDF  website. They are irreconcilable.

Journalists Hager and Stephenson have presented considerable evidence to back up their investigation findings, including death certificates for those killed in the SAS-led raid.
 

Bill English has refused to undertake a commission of inquiry for reasons that remain unclear.

Until an Inquiry is held, there exists a cloud of suspicion hanging over the NZDF, and the SAS. This is not good enough, especially as there is ample evidence innocent people may have been killed.

What more does Mr English need to warrant an inquiry?

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-Frank Macskasy

(Address and phone number supplied)

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Appendix1

NZDF Statement 21 March 2017

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NZDF Statement 27 March 2017

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Appendix2

Email addresses for newspapers for other budding letter-writers wanting to express their demand for a Commission of Inquiry. (Maximum word-length stated in brackets)

Daily Post (250 words)
editor@dailypost.co.nz

Dominion Post, (200 word limit)
letters@dompost.co.nz

Listener (300 word limit)
editor@listener.co.nz

Otago Daily Times (150 words)
odt.editor@alliedpress.co.nz

The Press (150 words)
letters@press.co.nz

NZ Herald (200 word limit)
editor@herald.co.nz

Southland Times (250 words)
letters@stl.co.nz

Sunday Star Times (150 word limit)
letters@star-times.co.nz

Waikato Times (200 words)
editor@waikatotimes.co.nz

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References

New Zealand Defence Force: NZDF Response To Book

New Zealand Defence Force: Speech notes for Press Conference on Operation Burnham (p6)

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 1 April 2017.

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Letter to the Editor: War crimes in Gaza – we must take a stand!

4 August 2014 3 comments

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old-paper-with-quill-pen-vector_34-14879

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from:         Frank Macskasy
to:               NZ Herald <letters@herald.co.nz>
date:           Mon, Aug 4, 2014 at 10:10 AM
subject:     Letter to the editor

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The editor
NZ Herald
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Israel’s continuing bombardment of Gaza have caused the injuries, maimings, and deaths of thousands of Palestinian men, women, and children. The Israeli military has bombed schools, hospitals, homes, and United Nations facilities.
In any other situation, this would be condemned as  war crimes and immediate Western retailiation would ensue.

Instead, the United States wrings it hands and continues to sell weapons of mass destruction to Israel.
Standing by and doing nothing makes us complicit in Israel’s crimes.
The Israeli ambassador should be sent home and the embassy closed down.

We must cease any and all sporting and commercial contacts with Israel until a lasting, just peace is established; the blockade of Gaza is lifted; and Israel ceases it’s land grabbing in the West Bank.
We did our bit to stop French atomic bomb testing in the South Pacific. We did our bit against the war in Vietnam. We did our bit against apartheid in South Africa.

New Zealand can and must do it’s bit for the besieged people of Gaza.

Mr Prime Minister: send the Israeli ambassador home!
-Frank Macskasy

[address and phone number supplied]

 

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Previous blogposts

Barbarians at the Gates

To any Israeli solidiers reading this

Letter to the Editor: What to do with the Israeli Ambassador?

 


 

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Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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The Art of ‘Spin’

21 October 2011 2 comments

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The Art of  ‘Spin’ – or misleading the public – is a tool that every politician knows how to use almost in their sleep. For a successful politician, they must know how to ‘spin’ an issue so it appears in the public domain in a way that is favourable to the poli.

Of course, a politician could adopt a radical practice of telling the truth (as s/he sees it) – but they either worldn’t last long, or would be pilloried in the media and public. (Hone Harawira is a prime example of a politician speaking his mind – and getting publicly vilified for it.)

When the public say they want “honest politicians”, I suspect this is not true. I suspect what the public really wants is for politicians to say what the public want to hear (John Key and David Lange are also prime examples of this), and if they’re fibbing or stetching the truth – the public don’t want to know. Especially if it’s a particular party we each support.

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Occassionally, though, politicians become ‘unstuck’, and their “spin” is unmasked for what it is: bullshit.

Case in point: what is the role of the SAS in Afghanistan? John Key assured us that  it was ‘mentoring‘,

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Full Story

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Only problem is… it wasn’t quite true. SAS soldiers were ending up dead – casualties in firefights with insurgents (or local families disputes).

Eventually, Minister of Defence Wayne Mapp had to come clean and admit what we all suspected to be the plain and simple truth;  the SAS’ “mentoring role” of the Afghan Crisis Response Unit (ACRU) was actually more of  a “substantial combat component”.

In other words, they were shooting at the enemy, and the enemy was most definitely shooting back.

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Full Story

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Ironically, Key and Mapp still attempted to put a ‘positive spin’ on their previously unsuccessful ‘spin’,

Minister of Defence Wayne Mapp has admitted the SAS’ mentoring role of the Afghan Crisis Response Unit (ACRU) has morphed into a role with a “substantial combat component”.

However, neither he nor the Prime Minister believe this means the SAS are in Afghanistan in a combat role.” Source

So as the TV3 headline sez, the SAS is in combat, but not in a combat role?!

As Manuel used to say in a certain Torquay hotel,

Que?¿

How does that work – being in combat, but not in a combat role???

Oh well, I guess National’s Ninth Floor spin doctors were having such a hard time reconciling the disparate comments from Dear Leader and Wayne Mapp, that they just decided that any old BS will do. After all, at 50%+ in public opinion polls, I guess it doesn’t really matter if the public believe their latest ‘spin’ or not.

However, that leads on to a somewhat more serious and deadly matter,

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Full Story

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Judging by John Key’s and Wayne Mapp’s earlier “assurances” about “mentoring/combat” roles, I find it hard to accept anything that comes out from this government. Hell, if John Key tells me it’s October, my first inclination would be to check my calendar!

I sure as hell hope that when Defence Force Chief Lieutenant-General Jones says that there was “no complicity in torture or any other international crime by New Zealand or members of the NZDF by partnering with the CRU” – that this is the pure, unvarnished truth.

Because if it ever comes out that we’ve been lied to and NZ troops were complicit in torture – then that will be a dark stain on our country’s reputation. It also makes us liable to be charged at the International Criminal Court for being accessory to war crimes.

To John Key, I say this; if we are playing some kind of covert role in supporting torture in Afghanistan, even in an indirect manner, then be aware of one thing: eventually the truth will come out. Secrets do not stay secret for long.

And you will be known as the NZ Prime Minister who sanctioned torture.

Do not play “silly buggers” with this issue, Mr Prime Minister. Take it from me that secrets do not last.

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Additional information

Minister releases report on Afghan detainees

Listen to Radio NZ  Checkpoint interview with Wayne Mapp

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