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MPs should investigate Hager’s claims about Defence

1 September 2011

MPs should investigate Hager’s claims about Defence

Nicky Hager’s latest book, Other People’s Wars, should prompt a parliamentary review of our Defence and Intelligence relations with the United States, Green Party Defence Spokesperson Keith Locke said today.

Other People’s Wars, contains evidence that officials within Defence, Foreign Affairs, and Intelligence actively pushed for closer ties with the United States military. Mr Hager’s book reveals how New Zealand’s peacekeeping base at Bamiyan hosts a number of United States Intelligence officials.

“The book shows just how much our independent foreign policy has been subverted by Government officials,” said Mr Locke.

“Mr Hager tells a shocking story of Defence, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs chiefs more loyal to the United States Government than their own people.

“They seem desperate to circumvent our nuclear-free policy so that once again New Zealand can become an obedient ally of the United States.

“A parliamentary inquiry could investigate allegations in Mr Hager’s book that Defence defied and deceived the former Clark government into giving support to the US-led war in Iraq.

Mr Hager provides evidence that both the air force Orion and the frigate Te Mana, sent to the Gulf in mid-2003, were directly helping the American war effort, under the cover of an ‘anti-terror’ mission.

“Current Defence Minister Wayne Mapp must also tell the public how long we have been allowing US intelligence operatives to share our Bamiyan base, which makes it a more likely target for insurgents.

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“It is alarming the extent to which New Zealand is assisting in electronic intelligence gathering in Afghanistan for United States airstrikes, often by drones, which cause so may civilian casualties.

“We need more openness from our officials, and make it more difficult for them to pursue their own secret agendas.

“Much of what Mr Hager discloses has been hidden from the public,” said Mr Locke.

ENDS

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