Operation Burnham: cover-up | The Jackal

1 Aug 2020

Operation Burnham: cover-up

Former National Minister - Wayne Mapp
You could tell that the Hit and Run book by investigative journalists Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson was right on the money by the way former National Party Minister of Defence, Wayne Mapp, reacted to its now largely vindicated claims.

Even though the recent inquiry into what was clearly a revenge operation has found that there was no attempted cover-up, it’s patently obvious that the previous Government and New Zealand Defence Force did in fact attempt to hide the civilian casualties caused during Operation Burnham.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

Operation Burnham: What happened with the SAS during a deadly incursion in Afghanistan 

Cover-up claims not true - inquiry 
The report states there was "no organised institutional strategy to cover up civilian casualties" but NZDF made several incorrect and misleading statements in briefings to Ministers and to the public. 
A senior defence official who was deployed in Afghanistan showed an "inexcusable lack of care and rigor" in misrepresenting the findings of an International Security Assistance Force investigation into claims of civilian casualties, the inquiry found. 
Senior Defence staff didn't question his comments, despite being provided information - including video footage, intelligence reporting and ISAF media releases, which contradicted them, the report said. 
"NZDF failed to adequately remedy its earlier incorrect statements and advice, even after it knew they were wrong." 
Defence officials continued to repeat its incorrect statements to the public and to ministers "due to failures of organisational structure, systems and culture," it said. 
NZDF personnel also removed the possibility of civilian casualties during the Operation from reports, it found.

Which is the definition of a cover-up.

Former Defence Minister Wayne Mapp failed to correct this and "continued the false narrative" that there were no civilian casualties, despite knowing it was possible, the inquiry found. 
"This was a significant departure from the standards expected of Ministers," the report said.

Nobody should believe Mapp when he claims to have simply forgotten about being briefed on civilian casualties, including an 8 to 10 year old child being killed, during Operation Burnham. The lame excuse he provides, that he likely forgot about the briefing because of the death of a New Zealand soldier, which happened at about the same time, is obviously completely bogus!

When former Ministers of the Crown and Senior Defence officials attempt to mislead investigators and the public on serious issues such as children being murdered, you know that there must be changes made to the structure as well as the culture within the NZDF.

Because if New Zealand isn't going to provide the Afghani victims and their families with justice, then we must do everything within our power to ensure this type of war crime never happens again.