Saturday, April 21, 2007

Playing With Media=Playing With poisonous Bees (Video)

Playing with poisonous bees will eventually hurt the player, simply because, even if they graze you, they will transfer poison on to your body. Playing with media will have the same poisonous effects, as it had to Afghanistan’s Attorney General.
A Canadian reporter reveals Sabet’s background, while the famous Afghan poet and human right activist Dr. Samey Hamed condemns Sabet’s action in public rally in Kabul.

Click on the headline and watch Dr. Samey Hameed’s video.

TV station raids make Afghan corruption hard to ignore (ACN)
The Ottawa Citizen 04/19/2007 By Arthur Kent
The Harper government has been caught off guard by a deepening scandal in Afghanistan's justice system, following a police raid Tuesday evening on the country's most popular TV channel. The operation was ordered by Attorney General Abdul Jabar Sabet -- who is also a former resident of Montreal.

For more than a month, officials at Foreign Affairs, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Prime Minister's Office have dodged questions about Mr. Sabet's entry into Canada in 1999, and exactly how he was able to gain residency. Mr. Sabet has a history of association with Afghan extremist groups, and his earlier attempt to move to the United States was denied by American authorities.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's accident-prone attorney general first created a potential problem for Canadian Forces personnel last autumn, when he abruptly suspended Kabul Airport's respected police chief. Gen. Aminullah Amerkhel was an accomplished drug-buster, and his removal triggered a resumption of heroin trafficking through the airport, according to senior Afghan lawmen and legislators. Heroin profits help finance the Taliban's war effort against NATO forces, including Canadian troops based in Kandahar province.

Yet Canada and its NATO allies acquiesced to the crisis, despite calls from the Speaker of Afghanistan's Senate to have Gen. Amerkhel reinstated, and choruses of demands from Parliament that Mr. Sabet himself be removed from office. There, legislators lament that President Karzai's international sponsors appear content to be spectators of the corruption and ineptitude wracking their client administration in Afghanistan. Tuesday's raid may change that.

"The international community now has an obligation to act," says Saad Mohseni, head of Tolo TV, the channel whose offices were raided by 50 heavily armed policemen. Several Tolo journalists were badly beaten, and three were arrested. Four Associated Press employees covering the raid were taken away and roughed up as well. Mr. Mohseni says: "Sabet has shown that he is totally unfit to hold his position. Our international allies must tell the president this type of official is not acceptable to the Afghan people."

Witnesses say police lacked any form of warrant for the incursion, so Attorney General Sabet stands accused of breaching both Afghanistan's criminal law and its constitution. Yesterday the United Nations' Afghan mission denounced the "manhandling and detaining of Tolo TV staff" and called on the Karzai government to ensure that "unlawful action against media outlets is prevented in the future."

But it's not Mr. Karzai who holds the keys to Kabul. It's his foreign sponsors -- especially the Bush administration. Officials from Washington were behind Mr. Sabet's bizarre rise to high office. Mr. Sabet was a longtime aide to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, once the United States' most-favoured anti-Soviet guerrilla leader, but now on their most-wanted list of terrorists. In 1992, Mr. Sabet's continuing links with Mr. Hekmatyar led to his dismissal from a job at the Voice of America. He was denied re-entry to the United States.

Mr. Sabet turned next to Canada, immigrating to Montreal and becoming a familiar face in the local Afghan community. He returned to Kabul in 2003, working as a lawyer for the Interior Ministry. Then, in an ironic twist typical of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, he formed a relationship with a U.S. Justice Department adviser seeking favourable reviews of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. As a result, Mr. Sabet led an Afghan government inspection of the site, declaring afterward that there were "only one or two" complaints from prisoners, and that "conditions of the jail were humane. The rumours about prison conditions were all wrong."

Soon after, both the U.S. and British embassies in Kabul began lobbying for Mr. Sabet's promotion, according to an aide of President Karzai's who witnessed the sessions. Mr. Sabet was nominated as attorney general just months later. In Ottawa, a Foreign Affairs spokesman denies any Canadian involvement in Mr. Sabet's appointment, but declined any comment on the attorney general's Canadian residency, or his role in the Kabul Airport heroin scandal.

Meantime, efforts by reform-minded Afghan lawmakers to restore order in the airport's anti-narcotics policing are being thwarted, they say, by corrupt individuals at the highest levels of the Karzai administration. "We are trying each week to persuade the president to address this issue," says a high-ranking official of the Senate, the Meshrano Jirga, who asks not to be named due to the dangers posed by Afghanistan's heroin trafficking gangs. "But it is clear that others at the Presidential Palace are counselling Mr. Karzai against taking action."

Here, too, Afghans appeal for help from Mr. Karzai's Western sponsors, including Canada. "These cases stand in the way of our democracy," says the Senate official. "If the Canadians are serious about helping us, they must begin their work in Mr. Karzai's office."

As for Mr. Karzai's attorney general, officials who know and have worked with Mr. Sabet wonder why Canada, while placing troops on Afghan battlefields, turns a blind eye to disruptive figures in high office. One Interior Ministry supervisor says: "Sabet is able enough to prepare a legal brief, but he is totally incapable of exercising executive authority."

An Afghan Foreign Ministry official puts it much more darkly: "As his past shows, the man is unstable." And, by all indications, soon to be unemployed.

The question is: Will Mr. Sabet's next port of call be Montreal?

Arthur Kent has reported regularly from Afghanistan since 1980. A series of his film reports is now appearing at skyreporter.com.

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