Visit would show America, not NZ, has changed stance, writes Nicky Hager
Gerald Hensley is an intelligent man, a good researcher and a pleasing and witty writer. Friendly Fire is his third book, about New Zealand’s mid-1980s nuclear politics. But unlike his earlier books, he has written about a subject where he is more bitter than witty.
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
These are the first US embassy cables released in New Zealand, in full except for one name being redacted.
NEW ZEALAND’S collaboration with United States intelligence agencies was “fully restored” in August 2009 but both governments decided to keep the decision secret.
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.
The Interrogator’s War, Inside the secret war against al Qaeda, Chris Mackey with Greg Miller, John Murray
review by Nicky Hager
NICKY HAGER speaks to a former NZSAS member working in a `Close Protection Team’: DOZENS OF New Zealanders are working for private companies in Iraq as violent opposition to the occupation forces spreads and the risks to foreigners grow….
A LEAKED report reveals the 61 New Zealand Army engineers caught up in the Iraq conflict have spent only a fraction of their time helping rebuild services for Iraqi civilians….
NO ONE said it openly, but an unpublicised cabinet decision in late January signalled the end of Labour’s policy of reorienting the defence forces….
Noam Chomsky: Hegemony or Survival, America’s Quest for Global Dominance, Allen and Unwin
Reviewed by Nicky Hager
The role New Zealand soldiers are playing in Iraq is not the one the government has sold to the country… (This feature was the first expose of New Zealand military activities in Iraq.)
The latest ‘debate’ about defence consists of the usual moans about the military being dangerously underfunded and ill-equipped…. but this says more about the feeble standard of debate than any reality concerning our military forces….
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.
New Zealanders are being softened up to accept this country taking part in perhaps the most outrageous United States-led war since Vietnam….
A $2.3 billion defence spending plan is stalled before cabinet after ministers rejected a bid by defence officials for a high tech military upgrade of surveillance aircraft….
The conflict between Helen Clark and officials over the future shape of the defence forces has heated up again….
Soldiering On, by Alan Brosnan and Duke Henry with Bob Taubert, T.E.E.S., Southaven, Mississippi, 2002, 330pp.
Nicky Hager, review for Dominion Post
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.
The cost of military equipment is always hard to comprehend. How can a small frigate cost more than half a billion dollars, Army radios cost tens of thousands each and a few Skyhawk jets cost more than $200 million a year?
This is a very positive time to be serving in the New Zealand Defence Force. The peacekeeping mission to East Timor is arguably Defence’s most important and popular role in the last 50 years….
Most SAS keep to themselves. They socialise together, are hard drinkers, and `watch each other’s backs’. They don’t talk freely about their work, with is why most of what they do remains secret…. (This article publicised many previously unknown details of New Zealand’s Special Air Service)