Transcript Part two: Mike Hosking & co-author of Hit & Run Jon Stephenson

Part two of the Transcript starts at 14.56

Part one of the transcript starts at 8:55

Jon:

Well, yet again, you know, with all due respect, Mike, I appreciate your right to have an opinion but it is simply an inaccurate opinion. And, let me say, that I’ve been doing this work for quite a long time in very, very difficult and dangerous places. Places where people like the SAS operate so I’m very familiar with the challenges that they face and I’m very familiar with how difficult it is to get to the heart of what happens in these parts of the world where often the… the rule of law does not prevail. But what I would say is: I do my very best to work carefully, meticulously, accurately and in good faith and, if there are errors or shortcomings, I am quite happy to put up my hand and take responsibility for that. If the enquiry finds that there’s falsehood or that there’s evidence of misrepresentation from any of the parties, including me, I will not shirk from accepting responsibility…

Mike:

Good, good. Well that’s good and I admire you for that.

Jon:

Thanks, but by the same token you, you know, all you have to do is read a document. And you repeatedly, as late as yesterday, wrote in one of your columns that the book alleges that NZ forces wandered into an Afghani village and shot and killed six locals and injured 15.

Mike:

Hmmm.

Jon:

That is patently untrue. Are you going to apologise to your readers and listeners?

Mike:

If I am wrong in that…

Jon:

Well, it’s just a documented fact.

Mike:

Well, I’m sorry – so how many did they shoot?

Jon:

Ha… well by their own admission they shot one man who appears to have been unarmed and called in air strikes which have killed and injured an as yet to be determined number of people. All I’m saying is…

Mike:

Sorry, hold on. You are dancing on the head of a pin. I thought the claim was six dead 15 injured – is that, not right?

Jon:

That… that is cu… that is the report’s…

Mike:

Exactly. I was reporting on the reports.

Jon:

But Mike take a deep breath for a second. This is not, you know, a matter of counting to ten. It’s a complex issue. If you want the accuracy of it, I can give you accuracy.

The reports from the villagers, from the local government, who as you know are not exactly on the side of the Taliban, and from other people including the intelligence sources were that six civilians were killed and 15 were wounded.

Mike:

Correct. That’s what I was reporting.

Jon:

Well you said the New Zealanders shot and killed those six people and injured…

Mike:

You are dancing on the head of a pin now Jon. Let me put this… here’s my problem and you’ve just sort of admitted it. One of the great problems I’ve always had with the enquiry…

Second recording begins

…is that you are looking to go back to a place in time years ago, in a massive war zone ah of tremendous difficulty whether it be language, politics, motivation and you are looking to dig up whatever evidence may or may not be there – and spend our money looking to find – something, I’m telling you right now you’ll find nothing because whether there’s something to find or not, will never be found because it’s a war zone. And sometimes in a war zone innocent people die – and that’s wrong – but sometimes also in a war zone bad guys hide behind innocent people and they look to use that to their advantage. What you seem to have discovered is those bad people were there.

Jon:

What I’ve discovered is what has been put in the paper this morning and in the papers and on stuff and everyone can read it and they can make their own assessments. What I will say is that I am privy to a considerable amount of information that is yet to be public. And the enquiry is privy to some of that information and a great deal more. So, I would caution you…

Mike:

Okay.

Jon:

…about making wild claims as to the nature and extent of what happened and where various people may have paved in ways that are not ah in accordance with ah what one would expect. There is a lot to come including also the allegations of our troopers beating a hooded and blindfolded… and flexi-tied the detainee, transferring him to people who tortured him. So, there… there is a lot yet to come. This is not something that you can just trivialise and I take issue with…

Mike:

No, no. I’m not trivialising it Jon, I’m just reporting on what’s out there at the moment. If you say there’s more to come…

Jon:

You are making claims that are simply not true Mike. You are saying that our… you are saying that I and my co-author alleged that the SAS shot and killed…

Mike:

No, no, no, you’re… you’re… it’s semantics. You reported…

Jon:

You want me to read it to you?

Mike:

Jon… the reportage is… the reportage is six people died, 15 were injured – that’s what was reported.

Jon:

That’s right…

Mike:

That’s all I was saying.

Jon:

And the book states clearly that all but one, possibly two of the injuries were caused by US helicopter gunships. You are misleading your readers and viewers. I will have to dispense with the privilege of taking journalistic advice from someone that can’t even read a book.

Mike:

Well, there’s no need to insult me Jon. Ah and hopefully what you are saying… no, listen to this.

Jon:

You’re insulting me by…

Mike:

Listen to this, listen to this. If you are blaming me for… if you are blaming me for an inaccuracy, what you haven’t been able to do now is hopefully correct that inaccuracy, but hopefully what I think most people will see is that you are playing with semantics there, and so let’s not get bogged down in that.

And if you’re right, and there is more to come, and that proves to justify the seven million dollars, and there is fault to be found in the NZ military, then you will ultimately be proven to be right. So, let us wait and see. But as always, appreciate your time – Jon Stephenson co-author of Hit and Run.

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