The New Zealand military received help from US spy agencies to monitor the phone calls of Kiwi journalist Jon Stephenson and his associates while he was in Afghanistan reporting on the war.
The second part of the lecture will be about investigative journalism. But before that, I want to use the opportunity of this lecture to talk much more widely, sharing some thoughts about the state of politics in New Zealand today.
The ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan and beyond has been the longest foreign war in New Zealand history, yet most New Zealanders know almost nothing about their country’s part in it. For ten years, nearly everything controversial or potentially unpopular was kept secret, and obscured by a steady flow of military public relations stories.
Based on thousands of leaked New Zealand military and intelligence documents, extensive interviews with military and intelligence officers and eye-witness accounts from the soldiers on the ground, Nicky Hager tells the story of these years. New Zealand was far more involved than the public realised in this crucial period of world history, He tells how the military and bureaucracy used the war on terror to pursue private agendas, even when this meant misleading and ignoring the decisions of the elected government.
“Nicky Hager has more knowledge and understanding of the American intelligence world in Afghanistan — both its good and its very bad points — than any reporter I know.” – Seymour Hersh, 2013
John Key and his colleagues are going to send the Special Air Service to Afghanistan. The current talk about whether National should do so is, unfortunately, academic. The decision is already made.
I have just been through an eleven month defamation case. Fortunately, we mostly won. About 20 to 1 if it was a score. If I was ever going to be sued like this, I am pleased that the suer was a man of Lynton Crosby’s standing and that his case against me was so weak….
Unfortunately, defamation is a tool that can be used by any well resourced company or individual against people who have annoyed them or who they do not like. This has serious implications for journalism and public accountability — potentially chilling freedom of speech about the people who most deserve scrutiny and criticism — since the sad fact is that it is much safer for a news organisation to criticise poor people than rich and powerful ones.
The Interrogator’s War, Inside the secret war against al Qaeda, Chris Mackey with Greg Miller, John Murray
review by Nicky Hager
Noam Chomsky: Hegemony or Survival, America’s Quest for Global Dominance, Allen and Unwin
Reviewed by Nicky Hager
THE war in Afghanistan was fought by intelligence analysts sitting at computers and special force commandos roving in mountains and lowlands…. (This feature was the first expose of New Zealand military activities in Afghanistan and surrounding countries in 2001-2003, activities which until then had mostly remained secret.)
CONSIDER the achievements of the Afghanistan war in terms of “fighting terrorism”… Overall, future terrorist attacks on the US and its allies appear to be more, not less, likely as a result of this war. It is not hard to see why.
As soon as the Labour-Alliance Government offered soldiers for the orwellian-sounding “War on Terrorism”, declaring “total support for the approach taken by the United States”, it began drawing New Zealand into the hidden agendas not only of the Afghanistan War, but also of what are, in effect, the early days of a renewed cold war.
As the pressure comes on New Zealand to support war in Asia, let’s not fool ourselves that we would be fighting on the side of right….
Many people have asked how I uncovered information about Echelon. They are experiences I think are worth sharing….