The SAS Photos

January 22nd, 2010 at 7:15 am by David Farrar

Appalled is my reaction to the decisions of and to run photos of soldiers at work in Afghanistan, which show their faces.  The reported defence is:

Herald assistant editor John Roughan said the paper stood by the decision to use the picture which, he said, had real news value.

“The soldiers were in a public street, in a major city, visible to anybody, wearing their uniforms, carrying their guns, photographed as the New Zealand SAS.”

For fuck’s sake, they are not in Kabul to go to the movies. They are there because they take part in some of the most dangerous operations possible against the Taliban and associated forces.

By all means, run the photo – but why the hell didn’t you black out the face of the solider? There are some things more important than news value.

Tags: , , ,

115 Responses to “The SAS Photos”

  1. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    I for one will not be using the Herald or Dominions news services. Vote with your feet folks.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. metcalph (1,384 comments) says:

    If a frenchman could take photos of them on the streets of Kabul, what’s to stop Taliban symps from doing the same? Hence I think that protests about troop safety are overrated.

    Besides the face of one is already public while the other is barely recognizable due to the thick beards they are both sporting

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. metcalph (1,384 comments) says:

    Do US troops operating in Iraq have a similar policy against being photographed?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Chris Doms (73 comments) says:

    Two soldiers were photographed – I’m not sure who one of them is because his face is obscured by his headgear. The other soldier is Apiata – everyone already knew he was back over there. No secrets were revealed, no lives were endangered. They were in a public place and were photographed – and it’s an excellent photo, I might add. Let’s stop overreacting to this nothingness.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. dad4justice (7,791 comments) says:

    This is no small squabble Chris Dums. Been a soldier on active duty have ya? Don’t answer until you grow a pair.
    Do the dirty laundry journalists from the Herald make bullets for the Taliban? This paper is gutter material and hardly fit to wipe my arse.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,065 comments) says:

    I stuggle to see the difference between Fairfax and APN taking pictures of the SAS in Afghanistan and publishing them on their websites, and the Ministry of Defense taking pictures of the SAS in Afghanistan and publishing them on their web site.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Grinning fresh faced Engineers vs SAS troops is the difference I believe.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Ross Miller (1,665 comments) says:

    Stupid and crap posts by metcalph and Chris Doms. OK, so some freelance journo snaps a photo of a couple of New Zealand SAS members in Kabul. He wouldn’t have any idea that the one of the soldiers was Willie Apiata VC.

    Back in NZ the media puts a name to the face and publishes the photo. What they did was to make Apiata a high value target to the Talaban. Well done chaps.

    For Metcalph. Please provide backing for your ascertion the “everyone knew he was back over there”. Yes the SAS is in Afghanistan and yes the SAS is in NZ. Just how did everyone know Apiata was part of the Afghanistan deployment.

    For Apiata I would sumise his Afghanistan deployment is over thanks to the media. Name to face and you can bet your bottom dollar that the ‘anti brigade’; the Keith Locke’s and the the John Minto’s of this world will have sent the photo back to their Taliban mates probably with a monetary reward to go to the first ‘raghead’ to take him out.

    Media playing God. Media puke.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Nigel (511 comments) says:

    well put expat.

    I’m saddened that NZ journalism has moved yet another step in the very rapid descent towards UK tabloid “journalism”, the NZ Herald sports section is already there, it’s a waste of space.

    I blame the English immigrants in the newsrooms, they know no better, so should be deported back to the UK.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. louie (89 comments) says:

    The new journalism:
    Endangering NZ soldiers lives OK, publishing cartoons that may upset Muslims Not OK.
    Identifying soldiers OK, identifying pedophiles not OK.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. metcalph (1,384 comments) says:

    Ross Miller

    OK, so some freelance journo snaps a photo of a couple of New Zealand SAS members in Kabul.

    In which case he stick it up on the website and all our policies against protecting the SAS troops have just become fucked. Moreover we know elsewhere (from a statement by Norway) that the SAS are in Kabul so once piccies of NZ troops are seen over there, people can conclude they are SAS.

    Metcalph. Please provide backing for your ascertion the “everyone knew he was back over there”.

    I have not made such an assertion. Stop drinking so early in the morning and learn how to attribute correctly.

    And since when did Kabul become such a dangerous security hellhole anyway? The security threat there is nothing like Fallujah.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. big bruv (13,331 comments) says:

    Last night I heard somebody say that they can just imagine how quickly a Minto or Locke has let their terrorist pals know that Apiata is in Kabul, anti war low life would just love to be able to use the death of our nations greatest living hero as ammunition (no pun intended) in their war on the west.

    Apiata is a national treasure, he will not like that but it is the truth, the MOD must bring him home right now and publicise that they have done so, when the heat dies down a bit he can go back.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. scanner (340 comments) says:

    The one picture that would be worth publishing would be the one with camera being firmly inserted into the anus of a newspaper editor, now that would be real news.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    “I blame the English immigrants in the newsrooms, they know no better, so should be deported back to the UK.”

    We could always swap hostages. Or do you prefer Asian immigrants?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. NeillR (348 comments) says:

    Apiata is a national treasure, he will not like that but it is the truth, the MOD must bring him home right now and publicise that they have done so, when the heat dies down a bit he can go back.

    Really? Have you bothered to ask Apiata how he feels about it? FYI, the vast majority of VC winners die in the combat where they won their award. I’m sure that he didn’t go out there to die, but he’s a soldier for fuck’s sake – that’s what he does and what’s he’s highly trained to do.

    For some strange reason there are a certain group of people who will happily put their own lives at risk – some do it for “the thrill”, others out of a sense of duty or obligation. We can’t know their reasons, nor comprehend their actions but the last thing we should do is fawningly put them on some god-like pedestal.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    Stupid and crap posts by metcalph and Chris Doms.

    And this is as stupid and crap as they come.

    Name to face and you can bet your bottom dollar that the ‘anti brigade’; the Keith Locke’s and the the John Minto’s of this world will have sent the photo back to their Taliban mates probably with a monetary reward to go to the first ‘raghead’ to take him out.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Tom Semmens (79 comments) says:

    How much publicity does the death of a nameless U.S. Marine at the hands of a suicide bomber generate today? One paragraph in the New York Times? How much publicity would killing a high profile V.C. winner from New Zealand’s elite SAS generate? A BIG headline, across the world.

    Now, thanks to the N.Z. Herald, the Taliban’s suicide bombers know what part of town he is in, what units he is associated with and exactly what he looks like, immeasurably increasing their chances of success.

    That is why the picture should not hae been published. Anyway, Cpl. Apiata is probably being sent home as we speak. Perhaps we should replace him with John Roughon, and make sure Mr. Roughon’s photo and location are widely distributed in Kabul.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Dave Mann (1,169 comments) says:

    Oh FFS… Does anybody here think the Taliban would be hiding behind their bloody camels saying to each other “Ohh look, there’s that nasty SAS man we read about in the Sunday Star Times – lets shoot him!”?

    Grow up. Driving around in Jeeps (or whatever they use) in army uniform, kicking doors down and killing insurgents is what identifies these guys as their enemy, not pictures of them in the fucking newspapers!

    Geez…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Given Apiatas high profile and the fact that his entire family have been in the media spotlight means the publication of his very presence in Afgahanistan presents a very direct theat to their safety. I’m assuming I’ll need to remind the usual suspects that we have already had Islamic terrorist groups caught in New Zelaand and JI’s area of operations is right next door.

    This is beyond irresponsible and given that the media in question is so bloody stupid as to call a rifle a “gun” makes it clear they simply do NOT have the basic grasp of the nature of the military and modern asymetrical warfare. that the TV media studiously avoided mentioning the risk to his family makes it obvious that they are either as bloody interlectually flacid or complicit in seeking to make a justification that is not valid.

    I wouldn’t wipe my arse with either publication.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Ross Miller (1,665 comments) says:

    Metcalph … I apologise with gritted teeth . The quotation was from your sidekick Chris Doms. But you clearly fail to appreciate there is a deal of difference between publishing a photograph with the face pixelled out and publishing an unedited photograph sans name. Yes, everyone knows the SAS are in Afghanistan. No, until the photographs were published the public was (a) not aware Apiata was there and (b) what he looked like complete with beard.

    I repeat again. This has made Apiata a high value target to the Taliban.

    Idiots like you think its all fair in love and war. Well, believe me war is a shitty business and the SAS are operating in a high risk environment. The media are being completely irresponsible playing God on this comforted by the likes of you.

    And by the way. Fallugah is in Iraq. Kabul is in Afghanistan. Get your geograpghy right. Different war.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. david (2,539 comments) says:

    Adding a further insult to our collective intelligence is this Headline: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10621473 which makes it sound like the PM is the one who connected the face to the name which he clearly did not.

    What is it when headlines are deliberately designed to mislead?

    Oh and by-the-way anyone who tries to say that putting names and faces to soldiers is common practice in other countries I ask two questions (and yes this means you Larry Williams among others):

    1. Follow the link and consider that the 2 photo galleries on NZ soldiers in Afghanistan were published with NZDF approval, then consider the difference between NZ Special Force soldiers and NZ Regular Force soldiers in terms of their mission profile, training and specialties.

    2. Point me to pictures with names and faces of US Navy Seals or Australian SAS, or UK SAS, forces in an active theatre and I might start to consider you might have the start of a point to make.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Fly John Roughan to Kabul for a week.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Send bloody Oliver Driver and he can be a self impressed twat for the teliban for a bit. See how impressed with him they are.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. random_person (2 comments) says:

    I think the long term implications of this event is that we probably wont hear as much about the SAS for a very long time, as in, no more access for documentaries and probably the deferment of accepting medals and awards until an NZSAS troopers career is completed. While understandable (and in no way Apiatas or the Armys fault), the publicity following the award of the VC was a dangerous game to play for a unit so dependent on secrecy for the success of their operations.

    For what its worth, the photo probably hasn’t done much harm. The Taliban/Al Qaeda were probably aware of the NZSAS presence, and as other commentators rightly point out Willie does have his photo on some of NZDF websites. The problem is, (and assuming the Taliban/Al Qaeda in Kabul pay attention to our media), is that the enemy now know the identity of an operational NZSAS trooper – without trying to sound over the top, there is the danger of repercussions for him and his family. Additionally, special forces don’t always operate in the open like this (ie, not in uniform but local dress), and you can imagine that they don’t want to be recognized.

    Aside from that, and accepting that there was at least a marginal risk in making his presence known – a marginal risk is still a risk, and this is people lives. Why would someone want to make it even that little bit more dangerous? Its a real dick move from the Herald on so many levels – breaking trust, putting lives in greater danger, and publishing a photo of someone who obviously doesn’t want to be in print! It would have been so easy to photoshop the faces, and the integrity of the story would have been maintained.

    That being said, I think we can all agree that is one badass photo of Apiata, though.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (762 comments) says:

    “Name to face and you can bet your bottom dollar that the ‘anti brigade’; the Keith Locke’s and the the John Minto’s of this world will have sent the photo back to their Taliban mates probably with a monetary reward to go to the first ‘raghead’ to take him out.”
    Is it Ryan who says…….
    “You’re tuned to Kiwiblog” ?
    :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. democracymum (660 comments) says:

    I’m picking a VC winner would be a a sort after trophy in Afghanistan.
    The MSM actions in this instance have been an absolute disgrace.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. CharlieBrown (910 comments) says:

    1 – The pm should never have confirmed nor deny that SAS soldiers were in any particular area of Afghanistan
    2 – The makeup of these troops should never have been released
    3 – The herald should never have published any of the information regarding the people involved in that particular battle untill well after the event, as was done previously as I recall.

    These guys are special forces involved in covert operations. However I guess that the herald being the brown-nosing butt-kissing John Key fans assumed that since John Key was releasing information that Helen Clarke wisely did not release, that it was open slather to report on these guys.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. richgraham (28 comments) says:

    We don’t know the exact circumstances in which the French photographer took this photo, and maybe more. Maybe the photo was taken with a telephoto lens from some distance away ?
    Anyway, the SAS fellows missed their chance to prevent the photos being suppressed – I suggest that next time this happens they immediately descend on the offending photographer and remove his equipment and either destroy the gear or the contents, AND give the photographer a thrashing and a clear warning. This French drongo, for selfish reasons, is prepared to place soldiers lives at risk, and so play into the hands of the Islamic Taleban thugs, so would hardly be surprised if he was to be forcefully reminded of his responsibilities.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Captain Neurotic (206 comments) says:

    This is absolutely irresponsible of the media! And I have a feeling that this may be a way of syaing a big ‘fuck you’ to the defence force by people in the media who don’t agree with the SAS being operationally deployed to Afghansitan…

    I feel sorry for the family’s at the moment – they will be very stressed (more than they already were) and quite fearly of the consequences of this, all so some dick head could make a good headline… cock

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    What was a Frenchman doing facing the direction of the action anyway ?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. dime (9,472 comments) says:

    “Do US troops operating in Iraq have a similar policy against being photographed?”

    Yea, take a pic of a Delta troop and publish it and see how happy they are. Or the british SAS. or the aussie SAS.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    I see the failure to grasp the global nature of asymetical war is almost universal.

    Why are you all assuming that restricting information about is about protecting the SAS themselves?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (856 comments) says:

    add me to the chorus. Apiata is now a target. Thanks Herald for your “fearless commitment to press freedom”.

    I guess you’ll have a ball covering the funerals – should sell you lots of papers.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. fred-W (1 comment) says:

    What a joke. All you armchair warriors speculating on some far fetched scenario in which this might have any effect at all.

    Kill all the editors … I’m the most patriotic, no I’m the most patriotic …

    Countries that have a REAL military presence in Afghanistan must having a really good laugh at all the fuss.

    We are in Afghanistan so the force can be described as an “International Coalition”, not just NATO. We are probably more trouble than we a worth to the US military who has to supply us with transport and equipment.

    Get over yourselves.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. simo (150 comments) says:

    If this man is compromised in his security ensuring our safety so we dont have to pick up a SA80 to defend ourselves, then Flickoff, Locke, and Minto can get their camo gear on and go and do his job for him…… The NZ Herald should get a 5.56 through their front window to let them know they have severely stuffed up this guys security

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. Ryan Sproull (7,033 comments) says:

    Is it Ryan who says…….
    “You’re tuned to Kiwiblog” ?

    Short, Shriveled,

    Who, me?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. wreck1080 (3,735 comments) says:

    yeah, i reckon they should’t show faces.

    But in saying that, what is the difference between that and all of the US news networks who put the US soldiers on TV?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. GPT1 (2,091 comments) says:

    Agree, it is a disgrace although one tacitly supported by politicians since Labour lifted the ‘viel of secrecy’ over the SAS. What happened to ‘we do not confirm or deny any stories in relation to the SAS. Full stop.’?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. david (2,539 comments) says:

    GPT1, you are surely not suggesting that the hoo ha surrounding Willie Apiata’s VC award was just a publicity stunt of the Government of the day …….. surely not ….. surely ……….. su ………. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. david (2,539 comments) says:

    Wreck1080 refer to the Herald website, there are plenty of photos, NZDF approved with names and faces of regular force soldiers in Afghanistan. The SAS and its activities are, of necessity, a different story altogether.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. Grendel (959 comments) says:

    and to add to the crap, both Prime and TV3 (i did not see TV1), when discussing the issue, showed the photos untouched.

    so they get to stand there being superior, talking about what the newspaper did, and doing the exact same thing.

    the media in NZ needs a slap, seriously.

    at least whaleoil edited out the faces.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. william (47 comments) says:

    I used to be a journo- both for NZ and overseas news organisations (including much time in the Middle East) – and ultimately I left the industry because I wanted to live in NZ, but there are no real values shown in NZ news organisations. This is but another example of their narrow thinking. The Herald is stupidly defensive about unnecessary breaches of long-standing conventions and John Roughan should know better. The issue of course is that SAS troops use stealth as a tactic and showing their identity at some level could compromise that. If Apiata is taken prisoner in a skirmish then obviously he is going to be a huge propoganda tool…… so why publicise the fact he is there?

    Yes, it was taken in a public place, but that still doesn’t mean the convention hasn’t been broken and safety compromised (albeit unlikely to have an impact) Yes, the risk is low, but why increase it. It was a stupid decison to publish, taken by people who really haven’t experienced the wider world.

    I mean, if John Roughan uses the defensive ot “it was there so we took it” then I could just as easily point out here his home phone number and adress for people to call and visit him and call him a plonker – because his name, address and even his tennis club are freely available on the web.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. polemic (362 comments) says:

    Absolutely should have had their faces blacked out – these valiant warriors put their lives on the line to make the world a free society against the muslim extremist murders.

    Great to see Kiwi warriors fighting the Taleban extremists working side by side with the US who lose many of their brightest young men to fight an evil idealogy of hatred.

    Question : Do the SAS have to check whether the US forces they are with carry any nuclear weapons before they can fight beside them?

    If not why do we require it of the US Navy ?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. kowtow (7,653 comments) says:

    Agree ,the publication was totally irresponsible.

    As an aside we give too much away in the media,presumably out of a misguided belief in “openess”,or just plain stupidity.

    When OBL was first on the run he sent a video from the mountains,all the “experts”were on TV saying how the rocks and trees etc would be looked at to show where he was………..next video OBL has a blanket behind him…….

    The US had a problem with rockets in Baghdad, they use camera drones to target and attack them and then it features on 60 minutes or some such.

    Pirates have hostage on ship towed by naval vessel,Navy Seals shot bad guys,details in news broadcasts.Wont be able to use that one again.

    And lots of other examples.

    What a way to win a war !

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. backster (2,082 comments) says:

    In my opinion Roughan is a raging leftwinger who can be expected to take every opportunity to undermine the government , patriotism and the National interest would not figure in his thinking.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. fisho (16 comments) says:

    This really pisses me off. Ordinary folk are gagging to know everything they can about what our SF guys get up to. Simple fact is, the reason they’re so good at what they do is that they are able to go about their business in almost complete anonymity. If you want to find out, join up and pass the selection and training.

    Yes, the pictures could well have been published on another website, or in another countries newspaper, but the NZ Press should have shown the simple respect that has been shown to elements of our military for many years by blurring the guys faces. I find this highly arrogant and disrespectful of the mainstream media.

    These guys are putting their nuts on the line every day for us (like it or not). They deserve the discretion they have been afforded for many decades. I’d hazard a guess that the publicity surrounding Apiata’s award was a PR stunt by Aunty Helen to justify her sending troops to Afghanistan. Guess it’s a step up from throwing paint at him eh.

    Poor bugger just wants to do his job. Looks like he’s enjoying himself :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Put Roughan and the Herald editor up on treason charges. (Should have been done years ago.)

    Most of NZ’s mainstream media (and the US mainstream media) are traitors to western civilisation and have done so much to try and undermine and weaken the resolve of our armed forces.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    One issue I would like to address is the aspect that the VC was a PR stunt. As one of the key people in the decison making process was one of my section gunners many years ago I can assue all it was nothing to do with PR and in fact if anything the public relations aspcect was considered a down side.

    I’m assuming no one is going to accuse me of being a fan of Helen Clark.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. david (2,539 comments) says:

    @Murray, I don’t think that any of us would suggest that the VC was not deserved, quite the contrary. I, for one, would have understood if it hadn’t been publicised to the extent that it was. “SAS Corporal awarded VC – an un-named member of the SAS has been awarded a VC for exceptional bravery under fire in Afghanista” was really all the story that had to be told at the time.

    Plenty of time for names, dates and places to be revealed in Part 2 of the SAS official history after those involved had ceased to be on active service.

    It is not as if the HC administration were strangers to sealing records for a fixed period into the future, some I’m told for as long as 50 years thus ensuring the whole story of some activities will not be told in my lifetime.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  50. PaulL (5,875 comments) says:

    There is a difference between a photo with no identifying details = just another grunt in Afghanistan. And a photo identifying him as an SAS soldier, from NZ, who has a VC. The French photo wasn’t interesting, once it was published by NZ Media with information associated, that was the point it became a problem.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  51. fisho (16 comments) says:

    Murray – I don’t think anyone is insinuating that the awarding of the VC was a publicity stunt. But their are no rules that say the VC must be awarded in a public ceremony. I’m sure the recipient wouldn’t have been too bothered if it was done more discretely. Once you give the media an inch they’ll take a mile….which they’ve done.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  52. John B (27 comments) says:

    Reckless, reckless arrogant decision to publish the photos. Surely the responsible thing was to check with the M of Defence first? Who knows if it actually comprimises their security or our action in Afghanistan (i certainly don’t not having any knowledge about such matters) but common sense (that we have all arrived at) suggests it COULD so bloody find out!
    I think when it comes to the armed forces even if you dont agree with them engaging somewhere you should support them 100%. I hope Roughan thinks about this when he’s in a nice comfy office and they’re out there facing bullets…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  53. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    I have brought my last Hearld or Herald on Sunday. Bastards.

    As a business owner I will not be advertising in their rags ever again.

    Small cheese to them but if enough vote with their cheque book they will learn quickly.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  54. david (2,539 comments) says:

    I see they have a poll on their website asking if they should have published the photos. Currently 86% of 2578 votes say No. Pretty clear that this was a bad judgement call by Mr Roughan et al.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  55. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Actually fisho and David a few people have made the insinuation and hence the squashing. Although no one questions his having earned it making a public display of the award was in reality a forgone conclusion not a decision to get some good PR. A VC not to be publicly awarded would actully be a unique event and would attract attention in itself. There were two other valour decorations awarded at the same time just out of interest. Can you name the recipients? The VC by its nature attracts attention.

    The media in New Zealand are quite simply of a very low standard. this is not my shot at them but the evaluation of many industry professionals. They do not report, they editorialise. The fact that our TV journalism awards are usually the result of boolean decision tells you why.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  56. Dazzaman (1,123 comments) says:

    Ross Miller

    What they did was to make Apiata a high value target to the Talaban.

    Yep, good comment Ross, that’s about the size of it, but I suspect Locke & his ilk grind their teeth at a military man as a hero…and that’s exactly what he & all the other guys are…far more then footballers & commie-sympathizing school teachers!!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  57. Steve (4,500 comments) says:

    If I was Apiata, I would visit a few media people when I got home.
    In, do the deed and out again and nobody would know.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  58. david (2,539 comments) says:

    Actually Steve, I suspect that they have the emotion trained out of them to a large extent so what you suggest is the least likely outcome. My reading of the SAS ethos is to avoid contact where possible and only cause damage as a last resort.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  59. david (2,539 comments) says:

    @Murray 11:22am. fair comment, point taken

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  60. Yvette (2,692 comments) says:

    “Why are you all assuming that restricting information about is about protecting the SAS themselves?”

    Bearing this comment in mind, in officially confirming the information, Key compounds the problem he criticises.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  61. Mr Noisy (27 comments) says:

    Based on how Willie Apiata won his VC, and the recent revelation that the SAS are kicking arse and taking names in Kabul, it’s pretty clear that he’s not terribly concerned about the enemy that’s in front of him. Instead, he’s now got to deal with the ‘enemy’ at home; those who wish him ill because of the job he does – which he does only in the name of our country, I might add.

    Having read his biography, it’s very very clear that Apiata is far more comfortable out of the spotlight than in it – why is the Herald wanting to make his job harder than it already is? Now, instead of thinking about the next mission he’s supposed to be executing, he’s thinking about the media glare and potential intrusion on his family at home. Good one NZ Herald and others, way to support NZ troops abroad.

    I for one sincerely hope that he’s being shielded from this media circus so that he can focus where he needs to. I’m pretty sure that his SAS mates here will be looking after his whanau.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  62. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,065 comments) says:

    If I was Apiata, I would visit a few media people when I got home.
    In, do the deed and out again and nobody would know.

    Anyone else get the feeling a lot of these comments were typed out one handed?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  63. Jack5 (4,597 comments) says:

    Fairfax’s Christchurch Press chimes in today with the picture of Apiata filling about half the front page, as big as any picture I’ve seen on the paper’s front page.

    Then on page B10 it has a big story about the Afghanistan Under 19 cricket team in NZ for the Under 19 world cup cricket, in Christchurch until Jan 30, though the Afghans are headed to Napier today for a match. This story tells how three or four of the cricketers have been ringing home in Kabul worried about the fight in which Apiata was photographed.

    Nice one guys!

    As for Roughan’s defence. He defends the foreign freelance photographer for shooting the pic, but offers only “news value” as the Hooerald’s defence for running the picture.

    As for McLaughlan (posts above): is he a Fairfax employee?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  64. scanner (340 comments) says:

    The idiot repeaters at the Press open the article with the following
    “New Zealands most decorated soldier W***** Ap****”
    They can’t even get that right Charles Upham with a VC and bar is the nations most decorated soldier, what plonkers.
    Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  65. Lawrence Hakiwai (119 comments) says:

    Right on Danyl, I’ve had enough of these Rambo-wannabes as well.

    Get a clue whingers.

    In New Zealand, media organisations are allowed to publish anything they see fit to.

    There are legal controls on that of course but otherwise anything goes. It’s called freedom of speech and it’s one of things Willie Apiata is in Afghanistan fighting for.

    If the Government wants to prohibit the publication of images of SAS soldiers it can pass a law to that effect. But guess what John Key doesn’t want to. I’m guessing he thinks freedom of speech is important too.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  66. BlairM (2,288 comments) says:

    It’s not about being Rambo, it’s about whose side you are on.

    Revealing the location of an SAS soldier with a VC in a public forum where Al Qaeda and the Taliban are able to see it is nothing more than releasing classified military information to the enemy. It’s no less traitorous than sending them money or supplying them with weapons. I have no problem with free speech, but if the Herald wants to gather intelligence for the Taliban, they should be straight up about it and put Allahu Akbar on their masthead. Not hide behind their “right” to publish. They should also be prepared to wear the consequences of colluding with the enemy, including charges (legal or otherwise) that they are behaving treasonously. Which they are.

    In practical terms, I am not worried about Apiata – he is an exquisitely trained badarse who will kill many more dangerous ragheads before he ever gets taken down himself. It’s just a pity we don’t have a media who is prepared to support those who put their life on the line for us. You can disagree with the war, you can protest the politicians, but don’t touch our soldiers. That puts you on the other side of the fray.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  67. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,065 comments) says:

    Gross. Why can’t creatures like Blair Mulholland just visit porn sites like normal people?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  68. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    This is an absolute CLASSIC!

    Afghanistan-based New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins, in a blog posted to the newspaper’s website yesterday, wrote: “New Zealand? At war? Who knew? Not a lot of New Zealanders, apparently.”

    “The news … that a team of commandos from New Zealand had joined Afghan soldiers at the scene caused a sensation in the little country off the coast of Australia,” he wrote.

    http://www.theage.com.au/world/kiwi-controversy-after-sas-war-hero-willie-apiata-photographed-20100122-moqy.html

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  69. BlairM (2,288 comments) says:

    Can’t Danyl, I’m on a public library computer. Sigh. Kiwiblog it is then…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  70. Jack5 (4,597 comments) says:

    Danyl Mclauchlan posted at 1.20:

    Why can’t creatures like Blair Mulholland just visit porn sites like normal people?

    Danyl: are you normal or abnormal then?

    and Lawrence Hakiwai posted at 12.55:

    …In New Zealand, media organisations are allowed to publish anything they see fit to… it’s one of things Willie Apiata is in Afghanistan fighting for.

    Yes, Lawrence, but citizens are also allowed to criticise the media organisations as they see fit. That’s what this thread is about.

    How interesting that the SAS is fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan partly for freedom of speech of the NZ media. Let’s hope that’s part of the deal in any peace talks with the Taliban head honchos.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  71. John B (27 comments) says:

    This is not a free speech issue. Free speech is about the freedom to express ideas . This is about information. The Media sometimes doesn’t publish information for common sense/social convention reasons. For example not showing the faces of the dead in some accident or other (not a convention followed in other countrys – check out Thailand’s newspapers!) , not publishing sensitive information about individuals ( addresses of the famous) details of crimes under investigation so as not to hinder police efforts etc. The media show discretion in what they publish everyday and they should of shown it in this instance.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  72. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    Willie Apiata’s face is well known from his book.

    If an Afghan nutjob captures a NZ soldier, then that is bad news for the soldier regardless of whether they are in the SAS or not. This is complicated if the captured soldier is Apiata, they recognise him as a VC winner, and exploit this for PR purposes in the jihadi community.

    In order for them to identify Apiata, they must have a copy of his book, read yesterday’s Herald, browse Stuff, or use Wikipedia. So the risk has only increased IF they read the Herald OR Stuff, BUT do not have access to a copy of Apiata’s book OR know how to use Wikipedia. That’s a fairly narrow set of circumstances.

    If Defence really thought this was a problem, then the easiest thing to do would have been to award the VC anonymously, with full details provided when Apiata retired. If Apiata thought this was a problem, then the easiest thing to do would be to decline all contact with the media when he was awarded the VC. And not write a book. If it is okay for people in Afghanistan to see the faces of NZ soldiers, but not okay to photograph them, then the easiest thing to do would be to wear balaclavas like Iraqi soldiers and police often do.

    None of those easy things happened. So I’m assuming that neither Defence or Apiata think there is a problem.

    (My brother in law is ex Australian SAS and works as a PMC in Afghanistan, amongst other countries. He appears regularly in the media, so I’m guessing that anonymity isn’t a big worry for him either.)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  73. Dave Mann (1,169 comments) says:

    I’m not a commie/leftist/socialist/muslim-loving/terrorist-apologist/fifthcolumnist/peacenik/jihadi-bomber-supporter/raghead-camelfucker-cheerleader….. but actually I think all you armchair warriors are rather exaggerating and I agree with Danyl :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  74. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,065 comments) says:

    In order for them to identify Apiata, they must have a copy of his book, read yesterday’s Herald, browse Stuff, or use Wikipedia. So the risk has only increased IF they read the Herald OR Stuff, BUT do not have access to a copy of Apiata’s book OR know how to use Wikipedia.

    The Taliban and their officers are almost entirely recruited from rural areas in Afghanistan. They speak Pashti. Roughly 1% can read or write. Their education consists of memorising chunks of the Koran.

    So the Kiwiblog fantasy o’ the day seems to be that these guys are going to somehow read – in English – a newspaper they’ve never heard of about a guy they’ve never heard of from a country they’ve never heard of who won an award they’ve never heard of and decide to target him. Do I have that right?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  75. Graeme Edgeler (3,268 comments) says:

    Do I have that right?

    Pretty much, yes.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  76. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    Danyl > So the Kiwiblog fantasy o’ the day seems to be that these guys are going to somehow read – in English – a newspaper they’ve never heard of about a guy they’ve never heard of from a country they’ve never heard of who won an award they’ve never heard of and decide to target him. Do I have that right?

    Almost. But you forgot that Taliban who want to shoot at or capture a soldier will purposely target a couple of bad ass SF guys, rather than a couple of normal infantry soldiers or a couple of soldiers from the support arms. Because they like the challenge. Or something.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  77. Dave Mann (1,169 comments) says:

    Danyl, you commie/leftist/socialist/muslim-loving/terrorist-apologist/fifthcolumnist/peacenik/jihadi-bomber-supporter/raghead-camelfucker-cheerleader…… the Taliban will only target him if they fail to recognise the military equipment and uniform he is wearing and if they don’t fall for the old ‘bearded firewood cutter’ trick. If they see through his disguise, then he’ll REALLY be in trouble!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  78. kowtow (7,653 comments) says:

    Danyl Mcl@216

    Who was the guy that blew up all those CIA officers in Afghanistan the other day?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  79. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,065 comments) says:

    He was a doctor from Jordan recruited by Jordanian intelligence!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  80. Dave Mann (1,169 comments) says:

    *STOP PRESS – Overheard in the market by our intelligence eavesdroppers (thats ‘intel’ in Rambospeak):

    Mohammed: “Salaam Alaykum Ahmed.”

    Ahmed: “Alaykum Salaam Mo…. wazzup?”

    Mohammed: “Hey, guess who I saw today all dressed up in the uniform of the hated infidel?”

    Ahmed: “Who, Mo?”

    Mohammed: “That nice ol’ firewood cutter bloke from out by the cameldung depot, thats who!”

    Ahmed: “Allah be praised! We’ve infiltrated ‘em good and proper this time!”

    Mohammed: “Yeah. I had my eye on him for my cousin Rohanna too… but best not blow his cover. I’ll have to find another bloke for her….”

    Ahmed: “Yeah…Bummer…”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  81. Jack5 (4,597 comments) says:

    Danyl Mclauchlan posted at 2.16 on the publishing of the SAS picture:

    …So the Kiwiblog fantasy o’ the day seems to be that these guys are going to somehow read – in English – a newspaper they’ve never heard of about a guy they’ve never heard of from a country they’ve never heard of who won an award they’ve never heard of and decide to target him.

    Danyl, you didn’t read the 11.57 post about the Christchurch Press publishing the SAS picture today on the front page and on an inside page reporting Under-19 Afghan cricketers in Christchurch for a world tournament frantically ringing home to discuss the battle in Kabul. The inside report said of one of them:”… his parents were behind locked doors and over his mobile he could hear the bullets ricocheting and going off around the house…”

    We live in remote islands, Danyl, not on Mars.

    If you were a serving soldier in a danger zone would you be happy with Fairfax staff deciding whether it was safe to print pictures of you?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  82. projectman (205 comments) says:

    Typical self-serving bullshit from the NZ ‘main stream media’. I am sick of them trying to tell me (as part of the general public) what ‘is my right to know’ and ‘what is in the public interest’ – these are, of course, only euphemisms for ‘how can I sell more newspapers’ or ‘how can I keep flogging a story to sell more newspapers’. Am I cynical. You bet. What a sad indictment it is that the newspapers (and websites, e.g. Stuff) who have published the photo think ‘we haven’t done anything wrong’. Perhaps it’s also a sad indictment on society as a whole that anything goes these days – there are seemingly no boundaries, no limits. No wonder people are deserting the print media for authoritative and reasoned information elsewhere.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  83. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Danyl, the Taliban may have shown themselves to be the equivalent of Redneck hicks recruiting illeterate morons unable to ascertain where someone comes from let alone where that country is on a map. But Al Qeada have shown that they are able to understand where someone comes from and where that country is on a map and they have shown their ability to reach into foreign countries and cause great death and destruction as witnessed in New York, Bali, etc.
    Guess what the relationship is between the Taliban and Al Qeada…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  84. NoCash (255 comments) says:

    …recruiting illeterate morons unable to ascertain where someone comes from let alone where that country is on a map.

    I think that applies to the US Army as well… LOL

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  85. Jack5 (4,597 comments) says:

    NoCash (your 3.07 post):

    If the US Army was really recruiting morons, there would be advertisments on the Standard web site and perhaps on Red Alert.

    When it comes to morons NZ’s left-whingers are impossible to surpass.

    ROFLMAO

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  86. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    Danyl > So the Kiwiblog fantasy o’ the day seems to be that these guys are going to somehow read – in English – a newspaper they’ve never heard of about a guy they’ve never heard of from a country they’ve never heard of who won an award they’ve never heard of and decide to target him. Do I have that right?

    You’re also ignoring the scenario where a couple of jihadis capture a soldier. They work out that he is from NZ, because he has a NZ flag on his shoulder (which they’ve check in a child’s book of world flags), and NZ style camo. They notice that he isn’t carrying the same Austrian-made rifles that other NZ soldiers use and, because they’re Afghanis and been playing with guns since they were 3 years old, realise that SF soldiers tend to use irregular weapons. To test this hypothesis, they go online using a satellite phone that bin Laden gave them, and Google “NZ special forces photos”. They’d find the picture of Willie Apiata in Stuff yesterday, and he’d be in trouble.

    How much better this would have worked out if the photo had been blurred. And they hadn’t found any of the hundreds of other photos of Apiata available online? And they’d just beheaded him as an ordinary squaddie, rather than beheading him as a VC winning SAS corporal.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  87. Rex Widerstrom (5,278 comments) says:

    I’d have thought that, as Dave Mann pointed out on this thread long ago, the Taliban would be taking aim at the uniform rather than the face. What would an insurgent care? “Oh wait, that’s not the guys from that obscure NZ newspaper, don’t detonate the bomb till they drive past?”

    If the men were on some sort of undercover mission, where revealing their identities would endanger their lives, I could understand the concern. But this seems to be a complete over-reaction. In Roughan’s place I would have done the same.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  88. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    I think that applies to the US Army as well… LOL

    And what you think, and what is fact are often polar opposites.

    I’d have thought that, as Dave Mann pointed out on this thread long ago, the Taliban would be taking aim at the uniform rather than the face.

    What stops Al Qeada targetting their family’s now that they have seen the face – it wouldnt have been long until many would have guessed the identity of one of the soldiers in the picture.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  89. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    How many terror attacks have taken place in NZ and by whom?

    Which nation attempted to subvert the NZ passport system?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  90. dad4justice (7,791 comments) says:

    Can’t remember Jack Shit, was it the bastards who blew up the Rainbow Warrior?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  91. Jack5 (4,597 comments) says:

    Rex, perhaps the publicity – now in a number of international papers – might create danger by alerting Taliban that foreign SAS are working with and among certain Afghan police or counter-insurgency units.

    It just might encourage the bad guys to pick out and target foreigners in a shoot-out when shoulder patches are too tiny and indistinct on a moving man.

    Pashtun are fairly light skinned, very much like pakeha Kiwis and mixed pakeha-Maori Kiwis (who include Willy Apiata). Why would you want to alert an enemy to the chance to shoot at at our guys?

    Rex, would you think it fine to publish photographs of unmasked and clearly identifiable police armed offenders squads where these need to remain incognito for reasons of their families’ safety? Seems a similar ground for blurring the faces on publishing faces of NZ SAS.

    We now have a sizeable Muslim population in NZ, most by far, of course, moderate. But there will be a few extremist-leaning ones, especially now that the language schools etc are recruiting in Saudi Arabia.

    DPF is right, Apiata should not have been indentifiable in the picture. The Hooerald staff fucked up. Now they are their Fairfucked NZ colleagues are trying to justify their error. Nor should we forget TTVNZ (Tabloid Television NZ), which led its Thursday 6pm news with the picture.

    Reprehensible, the whole NZ MSM.

    Whale on his blog is fighting a brave battle against the establishment to bring villains into the light. The NZ MSM, missing the point, is brutally and recklessly shining light on the identity of brave Kiwis who need and deserve to work in secret.

    It’s also hypocritical of the MSM. From time to time they keep reporters’ names off reports that might endanger them, such as of gang activities.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  92. Banana Llama (1,105 comments) says:

    I get a strange feeling that the NZ herald dosn’t want me buying their newspaper.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  93. Jack5 (4,597 comments) says:

    MyNameisJack (regrettable, that pseudonym) posted at 3.55:

    …Which nation attempted to subvert the NZ passport system?

    The Taleban aren’t a nation. A certain controversial Algerian, Zaoui, certainly subverted the NZ passport system when he entered NZ, and there has been a substantial rise in NZ passport forgery since the arrival of new ethnic groups, not necessarily Muslim.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  94. RRM (9,478 comments) says:

    This thread is so full of win:

    “you can bet your bottom dollar that the ‘anti brigade’; the Keith Locke’s and the the John Minto’s of this world will have sent the photo back to their Taliban mates probably with a monetary reward to go to the first ‘raghead’ to take him out.”

    “anti war low life would just love to be able to use the death of our nations greatest living hero as ammunition (no pun intended) in their war on the west.”

    “How much publicity would killing a high profile V.C. winner from New Zealand’s elite SAS generate? A BIG headline, across the world. Now, thanks to the N.Z. Herald, the Taliban’s suicide bombers know what part of town he is in, what units he is associated with and exactly what he looks like, immeasurably increasing their chances of success.”

    “but I suspect Locke & his ilk grind their teeth at a military man as a hero…and that’s exactly what he & all the other guys are…far more then… commie-sympathizing school teachers!!”

    “Endangering NZ soldiers lives OK, publishing cartoons that may upset Muslims Not OK.
    Identifying soldiers OK, identifying pedophiles not OK.”

    “If I was Apiata, I would visit a few media people when I got home.
    In, do the deed and out again and nobody would know.”

    And, ahem, I’M the one who says: You’re tuned to Kiwiblog.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  95. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Jack5 (1450) Says:

    January 22nd, 2010 at 4:09 pm
    MyNameisJack (regrettable, that pseudonym) posted at 3.55:

    …Which nation attempted to subvert the NZ passport system?

    The Taleban aren’t a nation.

    And I never inferred they were.

    The only terrorist attack on NZ soil was carried out by the French.

    The attempt to subvert the passport system was carried out by the Israelis.

    In both cases, a spineless NZ government permitted the perpetrators to go free.

    I think we are fighting the wrong war; the real enemies are already among us. french. Israelis. Americans.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  96. Jack5 (4,597 comments) says:

    RRM at 4.13

    ..this thread is so full of win:

    Win? win? win?

    If you mean winners, positive thinkers, folk not taken in by MSM hypocrisy, “win” is okay.

    Stay tuned to Kiwiblog RRM (I note you’ve made more than 17,000 posts to it). Stay with the “win”.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  97. Jack5 (4,597 comments) says:

    MyNameisJack (regrettable that pseydonym):

    …the real enemies are already among us. french. Israelis. Americans.

    Wasn’t the guy imprisoned in Beirut recently an Arab on an NZ passport? Wasn’t an NZ registered company recently involved in shipping North Korean arms? Aren’t our soldiers swapping bullets with Taleban?

    What the fuck are you smoking MNIJ?

    Correction: In a post above I spoke of more than 17,000 posts. I should have written more than 1700. Sorry!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  98. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Aren’t our soldiers swapping bullets with Taleban?

    No. Or at least, judging by most of the comments above, you’re not allowed to know that, even posting it here could see you had up as a traitor.

    So, if we’re not allowed to know what they’re doing, when will we know we’ve won?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  99. snowy (106 comments) says:

    “the real enemies are already among us. french. Israelis. Americans.”

    No, the enemy among us are those who oppose our natural allies in the West.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  100. kowtow (7,653 comments) says:

    When the Taliban blew up the statues at Bamiyan they were just doing some earth moving.No significance at all.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  101. Zapper (926 comments) says:

    Apiata doesn’t wear a watch – he decides what the time is

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  102. snowy (106 comments) says:

    The left are just pissed off with a Maori being hailed as a hero.

    They can’t get over that the Maori Party sided with National

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  103. JoeAverage1948 (34 comments) says:

    These are my thoughts , darn the picture in the dom post today made me proud, what a man , have this guy standing behind you when you need a real man to support you, um , fu*k hes rambo, a man, not a scared pc tosser working for the goverment . A MAN

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  104. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    The left are just pissed off with a Maori being hailed as a hero.

    How the heck do you work that out? Are all proud Maori righties?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  105. Steve (4,500 comments) says:

    Danyl Mclauchlan (700) Says:

    January 22nd, 2010 at 11:56 am
    If I was Apiata, I would visit a few media people when I got home.
    In, do the deed and out again and nobody would know.

    Anyone else get the feeling a lot of these comments were typed out one handed?

    Thanks for that Lockie.
    Turn left and cough

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  106. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    I think we are fighting the wrong war; the real enemies are already among us. french. Israelis. Americans.

    The French I can understand – I mean they committed a terrorist act on our soil. But what did Israel and the US ever do to us that warrants a declaration of war?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  107. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Apiata doesn’t wear a watch – he decides what the time is

    Chuck just called, he wants you to STFU.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  108. mjennings (42 comments) says:

    The photos should not have been published, and would not have been by any responsible media outlet.

    On another note, I wonder how many of us here who know even a little of military history, have ever thought that the Apiata VC was not deserved? I expect to be eaten alive here, but I have read of the exploits of previous VC winners, and Apitata’s action that won him the VC, while very brave, was hardly out of the ordinary and was something that would have been expected by any other soldier in his position. He certainly deserved the highest commendation and a medal, but historically a VC has been awarded for completely out of the box, bordering on lunacy heroism – which Apiata’s action was not.

    Just read a sample of the citations for these Australian VC recipients:
    http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/more-world-war-i-vc-heroes/story-e6frg12c-1111116106114

    Or the citation for Gurkha recipient Tul Bahadur Pun:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tul_Bahadur_Pun

    I know I will be blasted here or mentioning the unmentionable, but I’m sure there are a few honest souls out there who may agree with me that this particular VC was a PC VC.

    (I understand this post may not survive moderation).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  109. random_person (2 comments) says:

    @mjennings

    I’m not going to try and cut you to pieces on this one, as you correctly point out that the citations for some other VC recipients are, for the lack of a better word, unbelievable. However, I would disagree that Apiata’s VC is not deserved – as you probably know, a close reading of the citation shows that he volunteered to carry out a heavily wounded colleague at a massively greater risk to himself, rather than leaving the man to die or having another of his troopers assume the greater risk. I’m not certain that his actions were “ordinary” – rather, the ordinary thing to do would be to hold the relatively safe covered position and wait for assistance (presumably, too late for the injured Trooper).

    Fair enough you have your own opinion, but I think the above meets the standard of “for most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.”

    I do agree, however, that those citations you linked are pretty epic.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  110. jaba (2,089 comments) says:

    I haven’t read all the comments above. My opinion is .. 1/ poor form to show the faces 2/ inspirational to see a couple of pumped up SAS boys doing the job they are trained for. A scary couple of blokes if I have ever seen.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  111. Rex Widerstrom (5,278 comments) says:

    Bevan says:

    What stops Al Qeada targetting their family’s now that they have seen the face – it wouldnt have been long until many would have guessed the identity of one of the soldiers in the picture.

    What about ordinary soldiers, whose names and rank we sometimes see on television? The Taliban (not Al Qaeda) are waging a war of attrition in Afghanistan; they want to get rid of anyone who opposes their rule. Yes they could target families on the other side of the world, but they could do that to any service person’s family with equal effect.

    Jack5 says:

    It just might encourage the bad guys to pick out and target foreigners in a shoot-out when shoulder patches are too tiny and indistinct on a moving man.

    The Taliban don’t strike me as being particularly discriminatory about who they kill… anyone in uniform seems to do, though obviously those in the uniform of the Great Satan are particularly sought after. The majority of their targets are already foreigners I would have thought.

    Rex, would you think it fine to publish photographs of unmasked and clearly identifiable police armed offenders squads where these need to remain incognito for reasons of their families’ safety?

    Why is an AOS officer any more at risk than an ordinary police officer, who might have arrested a P dealer who wants revenge? Or the prosecutor who puts away a psychopathic murderer? Or a prison officer who keeps them caged and disciplines them? Yet we regularly see their faces, and often their names, in the newspapers and on television.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  112. mjennings (42 comments) says:

    random_person (2): I probably misused the term ‘ordinary.’ However if Apiata’s VC was deserved, there would literally have been thousands of the things awarded during WWI and WWII.

    His action was highly deserving of a medal, perhaps a Military Cross, or the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. But a VC?

    No way – if you compare his action with that of previous recipients.

    Here is the citation for a British recipient of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_Mills

    You will agree that Corporal Mills’ action was probably at or above the order of Corporal Apiata’s.

    Another point: serving in Afghanistan can simply not be compared with the sacrifices of those in WWI, WWII or even Korea and Vietnam.

    In Afghanistan, the enemy is mostly a ragtag bunch of insurgents, heavily outgunned, who can’t shoot straight, and score most of their kills by blowing up civilians. Hence the incredibly low number of casaulties among coalition forces. Of those we send there, we expect most, if not all, to make it home in one piece.

    Basically the SAS are playing a policing role in Afghanistan, and the level of danger they are exposed to is probably around that of the average cop on the beat in South Auckland (probably less actually), or the average volunteer fireman.

    This was obviously not the case with those who were sent out to stop Hitler and Tojo.

    Again consider the VCs awarded to people like Charles Upham or the Gurkha Tul Bahadur Pun. Incredible, superhuman feats of courage against highly competent and deadly foes in the German Fallschirmjaeger (and later Afrika Korps) and Imperial Japanese army respectively. Soldiers who served in previous wars, saw many of their own comrades killed in action, and served for many months and years at a stretch away from home – hardly something that was fun.

    I invite you to read the citations for Charles Upham’s two VCs. One is left speechless.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Upham

    Note that carrying a wounded man out under fire was just a minor part of what Upham did to get his first VC.

    I know most won’t like what I have to say, but Apiata’s case, (and a similar case in Britain where Johnson Beharry was controversially awarded the same medal) have something to do with PC.

    If Apiata was white, I have some doubts as to whether he would have been recognised in the same way.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  113. ephemera (563 comments) says:

    No one here seems to be asking what a photographer was doing with members of the SAS. It isn’t like he was strolling around Kabul and – by coincidence – happened to cross paths with them.

    The truth is, that any journalist or photographer seeking access to soldiers in Afghanistan or Iraq must do so via the military. Since the practice of ‘embedding’ proved successful during the 2003 Iraq invasion, it is now standard practice; sending the press out with soldiers on ‘soft’ missions.

    The guy who took the photos would have done so at the approval of a defense-force PR minder, and if anonymity was a stipulation, then their faces would certainly not have been published. The military can -and -do confiscate photographic equipment if there is potential to give away troops whereabouts or breach security.

    The reason the Herald gave the defense they did is that they might lose more credibility by explaining how they are participants in a tightly stage-managed public relations initiative.

    Everyones anger is remarkably misplaced.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  114. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,065 comments) says:

    No one here seems to be asking what a photographer was doing with members of the SAS. It isn’t like he was strolling around Kabul and – by coincidence – happened to cross paths with them.

    Actually that’s exactly what happened. Kabul is full of journalists, the attack happened in the middle of the city, hundreds of photographers, reporters and news teams rushed over and covered it. There are photographs and video footage of it all over the internet.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  115. John Ansell (861 comments) says:

    Truth is stranger than fiction. What are the odds of an Afghan under 19 cricket team being in New Zealand and featuring in the same newspaper as Corporal Apiata’s photo?

    But it happened, and we’d better hope none of those boys are disposed towards the Taliban.

    Seems like tempting fate to me – and the Army aren’t helping by featuring Apiata on their website.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.