Misleading from cover to cover

This is the cover of Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson’s book. It is designed to be emotive, especially considering they accuse the NZSAS of war crimes and killing children.

But what we have learned over the past week is that material facts as stated by Hager and Stephenson are in fact wrong, or deliberate lies.  

They stated that John Key had authorised the mission. That was a lie. It was Wayne Mapp, the Minister of Defence at the time, and he was in Afghanistan at the time, received a briefing both before and after the mission. He says he approved it.

We’ve heard about two villages, and Hager and Stephenson provided the GPS coordinates of the villages. It turns out those coordinates are for two other villages.

Stephenson has admitted on RadioNZ to never having been to either village, and only meeting people purported to be from the villages in a cafe in Kabul. This is hardly investigative journalism. On top of that, he gave a camera to an unnamed party to provide him with photos of the villages. There is no proof that the photos contained within the book are in fact from those villages. The ammunition depicted isn’t NZ issue, and neither is any thing else. In fact they look like insurgent rounds and equipment.

Tirgiran Valley and the locations provided by the NZDF for the villages subject to Operation Burnham are 115km as the crow flies from Kabul, the closest Jon Stephenson has been to those villages which are now in Taliban-held territory.

So far we are expected to believe these two, because they have said it was “impossible” that could be wrong, yet they have material facts wrong.

One thing they possibly have right is the detail of the sight on the gunship. My military sources, both in NZ and offshore tell me that this is a common problem caused by misalignment of and maintenance issues of the hydraulics to control the multi-barrel chain gun. Regardless of that no Kiwi was flying those helicopters, they were American airmen.

We’ve been told differing accounts of casualties, but the biggest claim is that little Fatima was killed at just 3 years old. Which is why Hager and Stephenson probably chose the photo of the poor waif for their cover shot.

But this is where it gets real interesting.

You’d think from their cover that other kids suffered as well. Except, the photo for the book cover isn’t taken anywhere near Tirgiran Valley. It was also taken more than one year after the alleged incident in the Tirgiran Valley…near Kabul.

The photo, is in fact, a photo that is available from AFP and Getty Images.

Here is the actual image of the boy from Kabul:

and conveniently there is a close up image as well:

So, not only was the location of the villages wrong, the authors have never been to the villages, they can’t authenticate their photos, based entirely on hearsay of hearsay, and have material details wrong, the authors decided to mislead with their cover shot as well, featuring a boy in a photo taken 115km from the location of the story, in Kabul.

This whole book and the story is misleading from cover to cover. They haven’t even acknowledged the rights of the photographer in the book. In fact, ALL photos are claimed as copyright by Jon Stephenson.

I know who I believe and it isn’t Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson.

Remember, they’ve claimed that it is “impossible” for them to be wrong.

 

-Getty, AFP


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

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