Kiwi base 'hid CIA', Hager book claims
The New Zealand army's Bamiyan camp in Afghanistan hid and supported a US Central Intelligence Agency base, a new book claims.
Investigative writer Nicky Hager has released a new book on New Zealand's involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq and "the war on terror", claiming officials and military officers misled politicians and even ignored and broke "clear instructions issued by the Prime Minister and the Government".
The book, called Other People's Wars: New Zealand in Afghanistan, Iraq and the war on terror, has been released to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Hager says the contingent at the main New Zealand base in Bamiyan, "had actually been sent there mainly to help the Americans".
He said there were two versions of the operation. The authorised one was fed by the Defence Force's public relations machine and was targeted at the Government and Parliament. Its key messages were that the defence personnel were not going to war, the focus of the mission was reconstruction and that the base was very much a Kiwi operation.
He said the truth was that despite media visits and hundreds of soldiers passing through, "the New Zealand military managed to keep secret the fact that they shared the Bamiyan camp with a US intelligence base" whose personnel shared meals with the Kiwis and relied on them for protection and other practical support.
He said evidence pointed to the intelligence officers being CIA. They were dressed in civilian clothes and told the New Zealand soldiers nothing about what they were doing but had free access to what the New Zealanders were doing.
"The New Zealand public was contributing to the protection and support of the CIA base," Hager said.
In the introduction to his book, Hager said access to classified internal documents provided "a view of a culture where some senior officers wanted to obey the Government only when they agreed with it and otherwise quietly undermined its policies and decisions. The same politicisation is seen with some foreign affairs officials".
He suggested the decision by some military and officials to cross the line and involve themselves in politics dated back to their unwillingness to accept New Zealand's anti-nuclear policy of the mid 1980s.
"For these people, the September 11 attacks became an opportunity to achieve their political goals in spite of, and directly in opposition to, the policies and instructions of their civilian leaders."
Hager's book on the so-called "corngate" affair, claiming a cover-up of imported genetically-modified seed, threatened to derail the 2002 election campaign.
In 2006, his book The Hollow Men, helped topple former National Party leader Don Brash.