Friday :: Jan 25, 2008

Freedom and Democracy

by Turkana

Remember Afghanistan? You know- 9/11, Osama, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, smokin' em out of their caves, dead or alive, and all that? I've already written about Bush's supreme failure to actually get justice for the worst ever terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and how the only thing he has accomplished there is to enrich the war profiteers. I've written about Bush no longer even making Afghanistan a priority. I've written about Bush's Defense Secretary blaming our NATO allies for Bush' having failed, in Afghanistan. You would think there's not much left to say. Well, there is.

Ever wonder what it's actually like, in Afghanistan? I mean besides the continuing violence and the resurgence of Al Qaeda and the Taliban? And I mean besides their having achieved their second consecutive record opium crop? Ever wonder how the people we installed in power are managing? I mean the whole freedom and democracy thing.

Well, the New York Times has this:

The Canadian military secretly stopped transferring prisoners to Afghanistan’s government in November after Canadian monitors found evidence that they were being abused and tortured.

The suspension, which began Nov. 5, was disclosed in a fax sent by government lawyers to Amnesty International and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, which are seeking to block the prisoner transfers.

The government’s internal concerns about detainees is also at odds with Canadian officials’ repeated public statements that the Afghan government does not engage in systematic torture.

Because, well...

The reports show that the monitors found that several detainees had been beaten and threatened during Afghan interrogations. In one report, the monitors said one prisoner told them he had been beaten with cables and wires and received electrical shocks. “He showed us a number of scars on his legs which he said were caused by the beating,” they wrote.

Another detainee, who said he was beaten and who had signs of injury, told the diplomatic visitors to look under a chair in the room in which they were meeting. “Under the chair we found a large piece of braided electrical cable as well as a rubber hose,” the report said.

And here's the real fun part:

Until the end of 2005, Canada turned over prisoners it detained in Afghanistan to the United States military. After that practice led to objections in Canada, it began transferring prisoners to the Afghan government.

Now, why would they have done that?

And in other happy news out of the free and democratic Afghanistan, Reporters Without Borders has this chilling press releaset:

A court in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif today passed the death sentence on a young journalist, Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, for alleged blasphemy. The trial was held behind closed doors and without any lawyer defending him. His brother, fellow journalist Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, told Reporters Without Borders: “I saw my brother leave the court. He was very anxious. All the family was, too.”

“We are deeply shocked by this trial, carried out in haste and without any concern for the law or for free expression, which is protected by the constitution,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Kambakhsh did not do anything to justify his being detained or being given this sentence. We appeal to President Hamid Karzai to intervene before it is too late.”

At a news conference yesterday, Hafizullah Khaliqyar, the deputy provincial prosecutor in charge of the case, threatened to imprison all journalists who support Kambakhsh, adding that “Kambakhsh has confessed to the crime and must be punished.”

Kambakhsh was supposedly arrested because of a controversial article commenting on verses in the Koran about women, although it has now been established that he was not the article’s author. Rahimullah Samandar, the head of the Afghanistan Independent Journalists Association, said he was in fact arrested because of articles written by his brother, Ibrahimi, criticising the provincial authorities.

A reporter for the newspaper Jahan-e Naw (“The New World”) and a journalism student at Balkh university, Kambakhsh, 23, was arrested on 27 October.

(h/t Meteor Blades)

More than six years after the September 11 attacks, and not only has Bush failed to make things better, but everything he touches just keeps getting worse.

Turkana :: 11:49 AM :: Comments (5) :: Digg It!