The Phaserl


Journalist Who Blew Lid off War Crimes: CIA Fighting ‘Parallel’ War in Afghanistan — Exclusive

by Darius Shahtahmasebi, The Anti Media:

Nicky Hager is a ground-breaking investigative journalist and best-selling author. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh once said of him: “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.”

Hager’s latest book, which he co-authored with Jon Stephenson, is called Hit and Run: The New Zealand SAS in Afghanistan and the meaning of honour. It documents potential war crimes committed by New Zealand personnel in Afghanistan in 2010 and includes a variety of sources, including members of the military who came forward to the authors with the truth about what happened at the time. Anti-Media caught up with Mr. Hager to get his take on the recent developments currently under way in the Middle East and Asia, as well as to learn about his latest book.

AM: Hi Nicky, thank you for talking with us today, and thank you for your work. I want to get your take on the recent developments that have occurred; for example, Donald Trump’s decision to strike the Syrian government, the ramped up operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the looming war with North Korea. What are your thoughts on what is going on right now?

NH: I believe that what we see at the moment is not about the personality of Donald Trump or the policies of Donald Trump. It is important to understand that what we’re seeing is a vacuum at the top because of the non-person there that doesn’t understand the issues – more so than most politicians don’t understand the issues, and they never do understand them all that much. And what I think we see going on is that there is a re-establishment of power, a move for dominance by the U.S. military which could have well found the same pretexts and done the same things with a different leader at the same time because it’s part of their power rather than some kind of erraticism on the part of Donald Trump.

AM: Not long after you published your book, Hit and Run, breaking the story regarding the revenge attack committed by New Zealand SAS soldiers in Afghanistan, an aerial bombardment in Iraq reportedly killed over 200 civilians. These events seem quite commonplace now. Without necessarily saying one particular attack is more noteworthy than another, what can you tell us about the particular attack described in your book that Western audiences should really take note of and learn from?

NH: You could find more terrible tragedies with more blood than the events we wrote about in our book, that’s not the point. The point is that with a lot of work and extremely good sources, sources inside the military – the New Zealand military, the U.S. military, the Afghan military, the villagers on the ground, the human rights groups that went in afterwards to try to make sense of what happened – by taking all the different parts of the story about the catastrophe of civilian deaths in Afghanistan we were able to give a really full picture, which, if anyone reads it, will help them understand not just that little atom of that incident, but the war it’s a part of, the moral structure, the legal structure, and why people do the things they do.

Why the insurgents were the way they were; how the villagers handled it; what decision-making took place that made the New Zealand government and military decide to cover up the event. By having one story that you tell in great detail, that’s the way you learn about the whole thing.

The events described in our book took place after the first New Zealand combat death in Afghanistan, after New Zealand had been partly fortunate in being situated in a very peaceful part of the country. When the first New Zealander died there was this great ferocious rush to find out who the insurgents were, and in response, there was the biggest New Zealand Special Forces operation in close to a decade of being stationed in Afghanistan, where two small villages were attacked and bombarded because they believed they would find the insurgents.

But the problem was they had acted rashly and without common sense because it is very common in Afghanistan for insurgents – this was a roadside attack against New Zealand troops in the first place – the more normal thing for them to do was what most insurgents do and that is to go up into the mountains and hide for a long time. So New Zealand went in with its biggest SAS operation, with Afghan troops, and borrowed U.S. attack helicopters and drones and all kinds of weapons of war to two small villages where there were no insurgents. Just children and their parents, and the elderly. And an inevitable catastrophe resulted.

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