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Gov-Gen slams Nicky Hager over CIA claims

Friday 2 Sep 2011 10:50 a.m.

Sir Jerry Mateparae

Sir Jerry Mateparae

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By 3news.co.nz staff

The Greens are calling for a Parliamentary review of New Zealand's defence relations with the United States following the release of a book claiming one Kiwi camp in Afghanistan is doubling as a CIA base.

In Other People's Wars, Nicky Hager also claims the SAS asked the US military to be invited into Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks, Kiwi commandos on peace-keeping missions were in fact helping British troops in the war effort, and the navy helped escort US ships during the invasion of Iraq, against the Government's orders.

Then-Defence Force head and new Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae has defended the role of our troops.

"The claims in the book, which I haven't read, but I know the general theme about the Provincial Reconstruction Team base in Bamiyan as a base for the CIA is news to me," Sir Jerry told Radio New Zealand. Sir Jerry led the Defence Force from 2006 until earlier this year.

Air Marshal Sir Bruce Ferguson, head of the force from 2002 until 2006, also denies knowing of any CIA links.

"I was the chief of the Defence Force who set up the PRT and to my certain knowledge there was never a CRT base in Bamiyan," he told Radio New Zealand.

He also says New Zealand did not help escort US ships into Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom.

"We were under no illusion to the Government of the day's views on Iraq. And I was absolutely adamant that we would go against those in any way shape or form."

Sir Jery called the accusations "abhorrent", but will probably read the book anyway.

But Green MP Keith Locke says the Defence Force doesn't seem to appreciate that most Kiwis are anti-war.

"The Defence Force seems to be operating as if its loyalties are more to its colleagues in the United States, British and Australian militaries, rather than a loyalty to New Zealand," says Mr Locke.

"It's very disturbing and needs to be looked in to."

Prime Minister John Key has ruled out an inquiry, saying the book had "no smoking gun".

"It is business as normal for Nicky Hager," Mr Key told the New Zealand Herald.

MR Key says he has not seen any evidence the CIA has any links to the New Zealand base in Bamiyan.

The SAS will have troops in Afghanistan until March next year.

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