Hager’s presentation to Operation Burnham inquiry

RNZ – Operation Burnham Inquiry: Hager accuses Defence Force of spin and lies

Journalist Nicky Hager has launched a scathing attack on the Defence Force during a presentation to the Operation Burnham Inquiry, accusing it of not telling the full truth about its operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Inquiry, which is investigating allegations that six civilians were killed in Afghanistan during a New Zealand-led raid in 2010, and the military covered up what happened is holding a public hearing in Wellington today.

During his presentation Mr Hager spoke about the military and political context of events covered by the Inquiry, but said there was a gulf between what the New Zealand Defence Force does and what it chooses to tell the public and Parliament.

“NZDF seems to believe it is entitled to hide news that might not be welcomed by New Zealanders and to bend the facts whenever necessary to avoid criticism or scrutiny … not just mistakes made in war, but toxic foam used in bases, the scale of sexual abuse in the forces and much more.

“NZDF almost never admits mistakes until utterly forced to, and even then they will minimise and spin the news. Reputation trumps being up front.”


Nicky Hager’s presentation to Operation Burnham is quite a read:

Operation Burnham public hearing 22 May 2019

Nicky Hager: the military and political context

The bit about false redactions to protect national security should be hard for the Inquiry to ignore….

Particularly as some of the names have been disclosed already:

This thread has a lot more coverage:

Website: Inquiry into Operation Burnham

Leave a comment


  1. NOEL

     /  23rd May 2019

    Comparison NZDF to Hager analysis in 17 May pdf.

  2. NOEL

     /  23rd May 2019

    Under title
    17 May 2019 – Public accounts of events during Operation Burnham and Operation Nova given by the New Zealand Defence Force and the authors of Hit & Run: A comparative analysis.

  3. harryk

     /  23rd May 2019

    The notion that the public should be lied for its own good goes back at least to Plato. Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt elaborated upon it and one of his students Leo Strauss revived it when he moved to the US. More recently Schmitt and Strauss were relied upon by Bush and the neocons to justify the necessity and virtue of lying to the public.

    ‘…implemented Strauss’s principle that since the masses are intrinsically foolish and will not always approve heroic action when necessary, the “Wise” must employ “noble lies” to convince them. These are to be presented through “gentlemen” who are not too bright but manipulable and enjoy credibility. Political science professor Shadia Drury, in her Leo Strauss and the American Right (1999), contends that Strauss believed that “perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is critical because they need to be led, and they need strong rulers to tell them what’s good for them.”



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