The Government seems to be embarrassed by George Bush’s award to the New Zealand SAS, says Green MP Keith Locke.
The Defence Ministry last night confirmed that President George Bush presented a US unit citation to the New Zealand SAS in a ceremony in San Diego ten days ago.
“It is bad enough that the Government has put a blanket of secrecy over everything the SAS did in Afghanistan,” said Mr Locke, the Green Party’s Defence Spokesperson.
“But it is laughable when they hide the fact that George Bush has given our special forces an award; what are they embarrassed about?
“The Government has good cause to keep quiet about the SAS’s involvement in Afghanistan. Reports keep coming out about the dirty nature of the American war there. Torture has been widespread, both to prisoners detained at Bagram airbase near Kabul and those sent on to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. It is unlikely our SAS mistreated prisoners, but they probably helped the American troops capture them.
“As in Iraq, civilians have born the brunt of the US war on Afghanistan, with air raids killing innocent people and many others being harassed as American troops sweep through the countryside.
“It is about time our Government came clean on what our troops were doing in Afghanistan. Security can be a reason for withholding some information, but not for a total blackout,” said Mr Locke.